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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Defending tenants' rights

I am involved in moving detailed amendments to two items of Welsh legislation this week.

This afternoon we will be considering stage three of the local government bill, which seeks to enable voluntary mergers of principal councils in Wales. Tomorrow, I will be in committee considering stage two of the renting homes bill.

I have major issues with the Welsh Labour Government's attempt to legislate on the private rented sector. In particular I am concerned that Labour’s Renting Homes Bill will dramatically weaken tenants’ rights.

Currently tenants must be offered a minimum of six months residency when they begin their contract. The Welsh Government’s bill would abolish this right, known as the ‘six month moratorium’. This will leave tenants in a weaker and less secure position.

I also have concerns about the provision for exclusion orders for those in supported accommodation, as this could be a breach of human rights legislation.

Removing the six month minimum tenancy rule will put tenants in a much more uncertain and unsecure position, especially given more vulnerable people will be housed in the private sector under this bill.

With fewer than half the houses that Wales needs being built, Labour’s failure to act is driving the dream of affordable housing out of reach of too many people.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats are the only party consistently talking about housing. We will double the amount of affordable homes being built in Wales in the next Assembly term, while also putting forward solutions to help people achieve their dream of owning their first house.

Wales needs to get creative on housing. Labour’s poverty of ambition is in stark contrast to the our innovative solutions to get us out of this housing crisis.
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