Landlords and agents warned of law change
Landlords and agents throughout the UK with properties in Wales are being reminded that they could be unwittingly breaking the law due to changes to the law.
Enforcement powers are now active for Rent Smart Wales. The legislation which came into force last year as a result of the Housing Act (Wales) 2014 now requires all landlords to register themselves and their properties. Additionally, self-managing landlords and agents must obtain a licence following the completion of a relevant training course and passing a ‘fit and proper’ person assessment.
Despite the name, Rent Smart Wales applies to all landlords with property in Wales, not just those who live in Wales themselves. With enforcement powers now active, landlords and agents not compliant could face a variety of sanctions including prosecution, fixed penalty notices rent stopping and rent repayment orders. In addition, landlords may not be able to secure possession of their property using a section 21 notice, if they are operating outside the law themselves.
A searchable register is now available on the Rent Smart Wales website allowing tenants and the wider public to check whether landlords and agents are breaking the law.
The process for complying is straightforward and can be completed online. Once completed, a registration and licence lasts for a period of five years.
Chris Northall, is a private landlord living in Ellesmere, Shropshire but has two rental properties in Wales. Chris recently went through the process,
“Having first heard about Rent Smart Wales on the radio, this prompted me to find out more information about the scheme and whether it was relevant to me, as I’m based over the border in England. Having discovered that I needed to register, I found the process very easy and it has given me peace of mind that I’m not breaking the law.”
Bethan Jones, Operational Manager of Rent Smart Wales added,
“I would urge any landlords or agents with properties in Wales and who have not yet registered or become licensed, to contact us immediately to avoid legal action. We are still keen to assist those who willingly want to comply.
“We’ve worked closely with industry experts to develop the Rent Smart Wales scheme, which we firmly believe will help make the private rental sector in Wales a better place for tenants, landlords and agents.”
Further information about the scheme can be found on the website – www.rentsmart.gov.wales – or by calling the helpline on 03000 133344.
Rent Smart Wales is a service hosted by Cardiff Council but ensures compliance with the legislation in partnership with 22 Welsh local authorities. The Welsh Ministers designated Cardiff Council as the Licensing Authority for the whole of Wales in 2015.