If you’re a landlord in Wales and had a tenancy on 1st December 2022, it’s important to know that you have a legal obligation to serve a Written Statement to your tenants by 1st June 2023.
What is the Written Statement?
A written statement is literally what it says on the tin: a statement you provide in writing to your contract-holders (tenants) to tell them something in their contract or their tenancy has changed.
The written statement we’re concerned about right now is the written statement you need to issue to state that the tenancy converted from being an assured shorthold to a standard occupation contract on 1st December 2023.
This written statement needs to include the new clauses/terms of the contract under the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016.
These clauses will be labelled as being Key, Fundamental, Fundamental+, Supplementary terms, along with Additional clauses that you have added that are specific to your agreement, and explanatory information.
Why do I need to serve a Written Statement before 1st June 2023?
This has been a question of great debate for the past few months, as I’m sure you are aware!
The new law came into effect on the 1st December 2022. Every tenancy in place on that date automatically converted into an occupational contract by default.
Generally speaking, written statements must be provided to your contract-holder within 14 days of the change or a new tenancy starting, but uniquely for the conversion written statement, landlords have 6 months to issue it from when the law came in.
So now the written statement needs to be provided to contract-holders before 1st June 2023.
Confusingly to many, the conversion written statement needs to reflect the tenancy as it was on 1st December 2022. That means that if anything has changed since then, those changes can’t be written into this statement. This is because it would be seen to create a new contract, which both parties would have to agree to and would no longer be the conversion written statement.
Can I just renew the contract?
Unfortunately, no. It has been made very clear by the Welsh Government that even if you renew the tenancy into a new occupation contract, a conversion written statement is still needs to be served. That’s because the new contract would not be a reflection of the tenancy as it was on 1st December 2022.
What happens if I don’t serve the Written Statement?
Failing to provide a complete Written Statement (as defined in the guidance), or not providing one at all could result in you having to pay two months’ rent back to your contract-holders as compensation.
Furthermore, you won’t be able to serve notice to end the tenancy; after you’ve issued the conversion written statement (late), you will have to wait 6 months before you can serve notice to end the tenancy.
From 1st June 2023, notice periods for many tenancies will increase to 6 months, so basically you’ll be in contract with another 12 months.
To recap: not providing a written statement could mean a significant financial loss for you in compensation, and could also damage your reputation as a landlord.
How do I complete the conversion Written Statement?
You can download the Model Written Statement for free from the Welsh Government website.
However, you need to be aware that this model statement may not include all of the additional clauses that you/your agent has added to your tenancy agreement.
To ensure that everything matches up and that none of your additional clauses are lost, you’ll need to go through the document line by line and compare it with your previous tenancy contract.
You need to be familiar with how the Fundamental and Supplementary terms work, and manually edit the written statement to accurately reflect all the terms in your previous contract that are still legal to include.
This can be a time-consuming process, especially if you have multiple tenancies to manage.
The Landlord Community have the solution for you!
Seems like a massive headache – but don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Our Universal Written Statement course can save you up to 8 hours of your valuable time.
Not only does the course include a copy of the Universal Written Statement, it also includes an easy how-to-use guide, a guide to send to your contract-holders so they don’t get confused, and an action checklist to ensure that you don’t miss anything important with the Act in general.
Investing in our Universal Written Statement course is a small price to pay to avoid the risk of losing two months’ rent. Plus, it will give you peace of mind that you’re fulfilling your legal obligations as a landlord in Wales.
Don’t delay, serve your Written Statement on time and protect your rental income today!
“After completing the course I felt the need to write to thank you. I cannot believe how easy, my stress levels were through the roof dealing with the required Written statement. Not any longer and took no time at all. I wish I had done it a lot sooner.”