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Minister reveals plan to extend notice period for no-fault evictions

Welsh Government is to consult on extending the notice period for no-fault evictions of private renters from two to six months.

The plan announced by housing minister Julie James at the Shelter Cymru conference in Swansea on Thursday would be involve an amendment to Section 173 of the Renting Homes Act (Section 21 in the previous legislation).

First minister Mark Drakeford signed up to a pledge to end no-fault evictions in April but the extension of the notice period is now seen as more deliverable.

Julie James explained that the alternative would be another delay in implementation of the Renting Homes legislation and the other benefits it brings to renters.

‘We want to do something now,’ she said. ‘I can definitely do this. We are not going to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.’

No-fault evictions are already banned in Scotland, where secure tenancies were introduced at the end of 2017. In her final weeks as prime minister at Westminster, Theresa May has also promised to end Section 21 in England.

Shelter Cymru director John Puzey said: ‘We welcome what we hope will be an interim measure, to extend the notice period for a no-fault eviction from two to six months. This will offer a measure of additional security to tenants and should trigger local authorities to begin early homelessness prevention work.

‘However, we will continue to call for no-fault evictions to be ended completely. We believe this is the most effective way to increase security of people in private rented homes and help create stable communities.

‘We also believe that ending no-fault evictions should include social housing, where section 21 notices are used to evict tenancies in their first year of their tenancies withot having to provide the court with evidence of the reason for the eviction.’

He said that Shelter Cymru understood that a consultation and amendments on ending no-fault evictions would have meant the Renting Homes Act might not have been implemented in the current Assembly term and this would not have been an acceptable outcome.

‘We’ve asked the minister to give a commitment that if her government is returned after the 2021 election it will take forward the necessary work to end no-fault evictions.’

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