- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Category: Feature
A new housing bill that will tackle unscrupulous landlords and family homelessness has been hailed as a monumental step forward by Assembly Members Joyce Watson and Rebecca Evans.
The Labour AMs said the wide-ranging legislation would make a difference to thousands of people across mid and west Wales who are currently struggling with housing difficulties.
The bill includes:
• Plans to enable local authorities to charge a higher rate of council tax on empty homes.
• The introduction of a mandatory licensing scheme with added accreditation for all landlords and letting agents in the private rented sector.
• A stronger duty on local authorities to prevent homelessness .
• New standards for quality of accommodation for local authority and housing association properties.
Joyce Watson said: “The new housing bill will make a big difference to thousands of people across mid and west Wales who are experiencing housing difficulties.
“The private rented sector is likely to continue to grow in coming years, so we need to act now on tenants’ and landlords’ rights and obligations. While the majority of landlords are good, time and again we hear horror stories of unscrupulous landlords ripping off tenants – a new licensing scheme will help combat that.
Rebecca Evans added:
“Homelessness is something I desperately want to see eradicated and the Welsh Labour Government is putting that at the very heart of this bill.
“We want to make sure everyone in mid and west Wales has access to a decent affordable home and I am proud that Welsh Labour is doing everything possible to achieve that goal.”
Welsh Labour’s Housing Minister Carl Sargeant said: “The Welsh Government is determined to make a positive difference to people’s lives and to do all it can to meet housing need.
“This Bill is very welcome as it will make a significant contribution to this Government’s priority of delivering more homes, better homes and better services across Wales.”