Committee agrees principles of housing bill
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Central Government and also in Housing
European funds to make Welsh homes more energy efficient
A Welsh National Assembly committee has agreed with the general principles of the Housing (Wales) Bill - but has made 40 recommendations to the Welsh Government aimed at improving the effectiveness of the legislation.
The Bill will introduce a compulsory registration and licensing scheme for the private rented sector, will reform homelessness law and will require local authorities to provide sites for Gypsies and Travellers.
The Communities, Equality and Local Government Committee concluded that tenants in the PRS should be able to expect a decent standard of accommodation, which is particularly important given that more people, including some of the most vulnerable, will become private tenants in the future.
The committee has called on the Welsh government to amend the bill to clarify a tenant’s legal position in cases where their landlord’s licence has been revoked.
Under the licensing scheme, tenants shouldn’t have to pay rent if their agent or landlord hasn’t got a licence. In such cases the committee wants to ensure that tenants are still protected, particularly from the threat of eviction.
The committee also wants to know how the cost of enforcement actions against landlords and agents who breach the licensing scheme will be met.
The Welsh government told the committee it would not be providing extra funds to local authorities, intending costs to be met out of the registration fees generated by the scheme itself.
Assembly members have asked for a comprehensive explanation of funding arrangements to be published before the next stage of the legislative process.
“The Committee agrees with the general principles of the Housing (Wales) Bill,” said Christine Chapman AM, committee chair.
“In doing so however we would like clarification of some elements in the bill, particularly surrounding the protection of tenants’ rights should their landlord or agent have their licence revoked.
“We are also calling on the Welsh Government to publish a comprehensive explanation of how its licensing scheme will be funded.
“I look forward to hearing what my fellow Assembly Members have to say when the Bill returns to the debating chamber.”