The increasing divergence between the law in England and that in Wales is easy to overlook but worth having on the radar.
On the planning front, the Planning (Wales) Act 2015 made changes to planning law as it applies to Wales, with further changes afoot.
Two significant pieces of legislation passed by the National Assembly for Wales relate to residential tenancy law and regulation:
- The Housing (Wales) Act 2014 establishes a compulsory new system of registration and licensing for private landlords and agents involved in letting and managing private residential premises in Wales, aimed at improving standards in the Welsh private rented sector.
- More ground-breaking still is the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 which replaces the complex legislation governing the grant of residential tenancies with a new legal framework, including two compulsory forms of “occupation contract” for the grant to individuals of the right to occupy a dwelling in Wales.
More recently, the Land Transaction Tax and Anti-avoidance of Devolved Taxes (Wales) Act 2017 introduced a new land transaction tax (LTT) that replaced SDLT in Wales at the beginning of this month. LTT is collected by a new Welsh Revenue Authority (WRA).
LTT has a similar basic structure to SDLT and preserves key features such as a marginal tax rate structure, so that the relevant tax rate only applies to the proportion of the property value that falls within a particular band. However there are numerous differences and not just to the tax rates themselves.
One thing is certain – these divergences are just the start ...