Many of the subjects we cover are relevant anywhere in the UK. Property law is generally the same in Wales as in England, so the house-buying process and the court process is common to both countries. However, Wales also has some unique characteristics that affect lenders and consumers, which we consider separately.
What makes Wales different?
It has devolved political decision-making responsibility for housing, so some aspects of housing policy are not the same as in England. Some of the most notable differences in Wales compared with England include:
- Stamp Duty Land Tax will be devolved to Wales from April 2018 and will be replaced by Land Transaction Tax (LTT) . This will be the first Welsh tax in 800 years. The new legislation establishes the Welsh Revenue Authority (WRA) which will collect and manage devolved taxes. (See the Welsh Government consultation on the Land Transaction Tax.)
- The Help to Buy (Wales) scheme differs from the English scheme and the Welsh Government announced in December 2015 that its Help-to-buy scheme has been extended until 2021.
- The law relating to renting a home in Wales is different as a result of the Renting Homes (Wales) Act. The published explanatory notes provide a useful guide to this legislation.
- The Right to Buy and Right to Acquire scheme may be changed or abolished in Wales, following a consultation.
- Registered social landlords/housing associations in Wales are directly regulated by the Welsh government.
- The UK Finance mortgage lenders handbook (which sets out instructions from lenders to conveyancers) has a version which covers England and Wales, as the legal framework is currently the same in both countries.
Welsh Government's programme for 2016-21
The Welsh Government has published its programme for the next 5 years. Taking Wales Forward sets out the government’s programme to drive improvement in the Welsh economy and public services, delivering a Wales which is prosperous and secure, healthy and active, ambitious and learning, united and connected.
The document outlines the government’s priorities for delivering those improvements. They are ambitious measures, aimed at making a difference for everyone, at every stage in their lives.
Recap of key announcements in late November 2016, affecting the RSL sector in Wales:
- Welsh Government announced an additional £30 million funding for housing grant funding, as part of a new housing supply pact with the RSL sector.
- Also announced at the CHC conference last week was the news that the Welsh regulator will introduce a series of regulatory judgement gradings for governance and viability standards for the first time.
- Read the full details of both of these announcements.
Welsh Government is developing a Rent to Own scheme, which will include a Shared Ownership option. It is intended that the scheme will launch later in the 2017-18 financial year (with the target time frame currently being January 2018).
On 24 February 2017 we responded to the Welsh Government consultation on a revised and improved approach to delivery of housing regulation.
We welcome the introduction of the new matrix of “capacity to improve” judgements for Governance and service delivery and Financial viability, with their 4 status descriptors for Standard; Increased; Intervention and Statutory Action.
Rent Smart Wales
Rent Smart Wales, the new landlord registration and licensing scheme launched on 23 November 2015, where:
- All private landlords will be required to register with the scheme and to register their properties also.
- Landlords wishing to manage the property themselves must demonstrate they are 'fit and proper' to hold a license and then undertake and pass approved training.
Alternatively, they will be required to appoint a licensed agent to manage the property on their behalf. The City of Cardiff Council is the licensing authority for the scheme.
See our Buy-to-let policy pages for more information on issues relating to the purchase and remortgage of residential property in the UK, for the purposes of letting to a tenant in the private rented sector.
New fiscal framework for the Welsh Government agreed
On 19 December it was announced that a new fiscal framework for the Welsh Government has been agreed between the UK and the Welsh Governments.
The fiscal framework sets out how the Welsh Government will be funded following the devolution of stamp duty land tax, landfill tax and Welsh rates of income tax. Under the new arrangements both governments have agreed that Wales will have a fair level of funding for the long term. Detailed information is in the full agreement document.
Please see below for detailed information on our policy work in Wales.
Last updated: 9 May 2017
This overview of the social and affordable housing sector across the UK focuses on how housing associations are funded and regulated. It highlights key issues in the sector and our position, including our calls for certainty of public funding and stable implementation of welfare reforms.
Last updated: 28 July 2017
This page includes an overview of government-funded Help to Buy equity loan schemes; details the arrangements for England, Scotland and Wales and also includes updates on the latest statistics for the schemes.
Last updated: 4 September 2017
This is a comprehensive round-up of the main current and predecessor schemes for low cost home ownership, also known as the intermediate market.
Last updated: 21 November 2016
This overview details our neutral position on the scheme in relation to residential mortgage lending.