- Posted by: Mike Hedges MS
- Categories: Latest News, Press Releases
Mike Hedges AM welcomes Welsh Government announcement that Tennent rights are to be strengthened with new laws.
Speaking from his Senedd office, Swansea East AM Mike Hedges said… ‘I have long campaigned on Housing issues as I believe good quality housing to be one of the most basic of human needs. Recent years have seen the growth of the private rented sector and as I said in my speech, most landlords are decent people, in it for the right reasons, who maintain their properties and treat their tenants with respect. Sadly however, there are some rogue landlords who do not maintain properties and who are out to take advantage of situations to make money.
The new rules outlined by the Minister will provide a framework for ensuring that tenants are treated fairly and landlords must provide appropriate reasons when evicting someone. It increases security of tenor for tenants and will mean greater stability for children who might be faced with moving schools at short notice.
Good landlords have nothing to fear from these new laws, rogue landlords are about to find life tougher.’
Mike Hedges AM – Can I thank the Minister for the statement? I believe that housing is one of the most important things that we have and I think that it really is important that the housing sector, both private, local authority, other social housing landlords and the private sector are all of a high standard.209
Most tenants and landlords have a good relationship. I mean, most landlords look after their properties and treat their tenants well, and I think, sometimes, when we start bringing in legislation, discussing these things, we give the impression that we think all landlords are bad. Also, most tenants pay their rent on time, look after the house, cause no problems to those living around them, and in a lot of places, including large parts of my constituency, you wouldn’t know which houses were owner-occupied and which were lived in by people who were privately renting, some of whom do it for several years. And some of the nicer parts—. If I can go into your constituency, Minister, and if you go down into the marina, large numbers of properties there are privately rented, they’re all of good quality, and there are no problems being caused by them, as I’m sure that you’re more aware than I am of that.210
Unfortunately, there are some bad landlords and there are some bad tenants, and I’ve talked to people who have rented their houses out to get them back without any internal doors and semi-demolished. So, there are bad tenants. I’ve also seen people who are tenants living in properties where you could put your fist between the wall and the window frame. So, you’ve got bad people on both sides. I think we do need to acknowledge that.211
I welcome the fact you’re ending retaliatory eviction. I think that was always the case: ‘Please will you repair my house?’ ‘Get out in three months’ was acting as a dissuader.212
I noticed you didn’t make a mention of this in your statement, but, as you know, I’m very keen on smoke alarms, electrical and gas certificates and those checks. I mean, they’re still in the Act, I understand. Are you going to say how often they have to be checked after they have been installed? Because that’s something that a lot of people are very concerned about, in that they’re checked once, but if somebody lives there nine or 10 years, are they going to be checked again? And that’s a question, perhaps, that some of us who are owner-occupiers would ask ourselves: ‘How often do we check our smoke alarms, make sure our gas is safe and check electrical safety?’ So, I think some of us could certainly learn from that as well.213
The last question I’ve got is—. I mean, obviously the greater security is welcomed. You mentioned six months a lot during it. I’m not going to read them all out to you because the Deputy Presiding Officer, amongst others, wouldn’t allow me to, but you mentioned six months a lot. Why have you chosen six months as opposed to three months or 12 months? I hear what you said about no-fault evictions, that you have to have reasons why people can be evicted even if they have no fault, but I think the general principle of no-fault evictions is one that many of us like and it means that, when people leave, it does show that they haven’t been evicted for that. They can be evicted if somebody has to live in the house or the person who owns it goes bankrupt or whatever reason due to financial problems, but actually having it on the statute books that we support no-fault evictions is something I’m not quite sure why you don’t want.