Procedural rules for claims under the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 – due to come into effect 1 December 2022
Alistair Cantor and Verity Bell summarise the Civil Procedure Rules applying to claims under the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 (“the 2016 Act”) after its implementation on 1 December 2022. Understanding these changes will be essential for anyone dealing with landlord and tenant claims in Wales after that date.
A new regime for claims for possession and other claims under the 2016 Act will be implemented when the Civil Procedure (Amendment No. 2) Rules 2022 come into force on 1 December 2022. In summary:
- A new Section IV will be inserted into Part 55 to govern possession claims under the Act. Broadly speaking, this mirrors the existing Part 55 procedures. It includes an accelerated possession procedure for claims concerning standard contracts where a break clause has been exercised or notice has been given to end a periodic contract or one at the end of its fixed term. This is largely equivalent to the existing accelerated process available for s21 claims on assured shorthold tenancies, including for hearings to be held to determine whether possession should be delayed up to a maximum of six weeks on grounds of exceptional hardship. The new rule 55.45 sets out an expanded list of circumstances which the court will otherwise list a hearing under the accelerated procedure. In addition to where the court is not satisfied as to service of the claim or the claimant’s entitlement to possession, hearings may also be listed: where there are extant proceedings regarding an incomplete or incorrect written statement; where an issue of retaliatory possession has been raised in claims on certain grounds; and where human rights defences are raised in claims on certain grounds arising from the service of notices to end occupation contracts, or to exercise break clauses, which, absent any human rights defence, would result in a mandatory possession order.
- Provision will be made for claims for prohibited conduct standard contract orders (equivalent to demotion orders under the current statutory framework) to be progressed under Part 65, unless brought as an alternative to a claim for possession in which case Part 55 will apply.
- Claims under the Act other than the above types and housing conditions cases – for example for orders for declarations and compensation regarding written statements and appeals against certain decisions by certain landlords – will fall under Part 56.
The amendments also indicate future, further provision may be made for claims under the 2016 Act by way of practice direction.
Along with Sarah Salmon and Jack Barber, Alistair and Verity are part of a team at Cornerstone helping the Welsh Social Housing sector prepare for the 2016 Act’s implementation. Please contact Cornerstone’s clerks should you require expertise in this area.