What are Occupation Contracts?
As part of the Renting Homes Wales changes, private landlords in Wales can no longer use tenancy agreements when they let their properties. Instead, they must use Standard Occupation Contracts when starting an agreement. As a result, you as a landlord need to replace or convert your agreements to comply with the latest requirements.
Many of the terms within the contracts are required by law and landlords must provide an accurate written statement of the occupation contract (including any required clauses) or face penalties. This means it is essential that you use this new type of contract for new tenants from 1 December instead of an AST.
If you already had tenants in place before 1 December, then the contract is a converted contract. You are given until May 30 2023 to issue an updated statement to them, nut should do this as soon as possible if you have missed the deadline to limit penalties.
My tenants are already living in the property. Should I give them an Occupation Contract?
That will depend. Tenancies that existed before 1 December 2022 converted into occupation contracts on that date. You may need to convert these contracts and different rules may apply.
For more information please use the following link https://www.nrla.org.uk/resources/starting-a-tenancy/converting-tenancies-to-occupation-contracts
When does my existing tenancy agreement change to an occupation contract?
The existing tenancy agreement converted on December 1 2022. However, you need to provide a written copy of the converted terms by May 30 2023. Please note that If you plan to serve notice you will need to have provided the written terms to the occupants before you serve it.
Guidance on converting the terms can be found at https://www.nrla.org.uk/resources/starting-a-tenancy/converting-tenancies-to-occupation-contracts
How long can I offer a term of an occupation contract, what is too short or too long?
There is no minimum term on an occupation contract and you can, should you wish, start the contract rolling on periodically.
However, you may not serve a Section 173 notice to end the contract within the first six months of occupation or during a fixed occupation contract. As the Section 173 notice is six months long, this will give the tenants security of tenure for at least 12 months if they don’t breach the contract terms.
Where can I find more information?
For more information please use the following link https://www.nrla.org.uk/resources/wales/standard-occupation-contracts
Where can I find training on this topic?
The NRLA offer a multitude of courses for our members to increase their knowledge and improve their skills as a landlord. You can find training on Renting Homes Wales and other topics. You can attend these courses in a classroom, eClassroom or eLearning depending on your preference.