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Bristol academics influence Welsh housing reforms

Professor Martin Partington, CBE, QC

Professor Martin Partington, CBE, QC

22 June 2012

Academics at the University of Bristol have played a leading role in drafting proposals for tenancy reform set out in the Welsh Assembly Government’s Housing White Paper, published in May.

The White Paper, 'Homes for Wales', sets out a bold and ambitious programme of legislative and non-legislative action to tackle homelessness, improve conditions in the private rented sector and deliver more homes. It also sets out proposals for tenancy reform, which will benefit tenants and landlords alike, and for ending family homelessness in Wales by 2019, ensuring better help is available for those who become homeless.

The tenancy reform proposals are based on recommendations from the Law Commission, which worked with the Welsh Assembly Government to identify and address regulatory challenges in the private rented sector as part of a project on housing law reform. Professor Martin Partington, CBE, QC, and Emeritus Professor of Law at the University of Bristol Law School, was the Law Commissioner responsible for leading the project. In addition, David Cowan, Professor of Law and Policy at the University of Bristol Law School, and Alex Marsh, Professor of Public Policy in the School for Policy Studies, were consultants to the Law Commission.

The proposals aim to:

  • remove current distinctions between different tenancy types , thus providing a much simpler  legal framework;
  • provide both landlords and tenants with clearer information about their rights and responsibilities, including when agreements can be ended;
  • give more flexibility for local authorities, housing associations, and private landlords to operate in different local rental markets and to meet the housing needs of people in different circumstances, including those in need of key worker housing;
  • help people to move from supported housing to housing independence, while giving the providers of such housing a practical legal framework to achieve this goal; and
  • increase the options available for ensuring that the rental sector plays its proper role in creating and maintaining sustainable communities.

The White Paper is currently out to public consultation and the Welsh Government is committed to taking forward tenancy reform, via a separate Bill, within the lifetime of the current Assembly, taking into account responses to the consultation.

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