In response to the Welsh Government’s publication of the Homes for Wales White Paper, Rhian Evans policy manager at Consumer Focus Wales said:
‘Consumer Focus Wales fully backs the commitment of the Welsh Government to improve the quality and management of homes available. Our recent research shows there is a need for change within the private rented sector, and it is pleasing to see that this need has been identified by the Welsh Government in their housing White Paper.
‘It is good news that it will be mandatory for landlords and letting agents to be registered and accredited by the local authority before they can rent out their properties. We conducted research this year (due for publication in the summer) which showed overwhelming support for a scheme that would professionalise and raise standards within the private rented sector and allow tenants to see if their landlord is a fit and proper person.
‘However, any scheme developed by the Welsh Government needs to have a strong enforcement plan in place with enough funding to provide a useful service to tenants.
‘We also fully support the recommendation that every tenant should have a written tenancy agreement. Our research shows a lack of understanding – both by tenants and new landlords on tenancy agreements. This in turn can lead to confusion about the rights and responsibilities on both sides.
‘Although tenure reform is not going to be addressed at this stage we support the Welsh Government in looking at this at a later date. Our research showed that having a standard tenancy agreement would benefit landlords and tenants by having a contract that would be fair to all and therefore should not be disregarded at a time when the private rented sector is being looked at by the Welsh Government.’