A new law for landlords and lettings agents.

 

Rent Smart Wales (external link) will raise standards in the private rented sector in Wales with the introduction of a new law requiring the registration and licensing of landlords and agents.

Lesley Griffiths, the Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty, has announced new legislation will be introduced on 23 November 2015. From this date, the Licensing Authority, Cardiff Council, will have in place the Rent Smart Wales team and the website and helpline will be live.

Landlords who need to register, and landlords and agents who need to become licensed, will be able to register and apply for a licence from this date. They will have 12 months from 23 November 2015 in which to comply with the new legislation. During this year there will be a focus on raising awareness of the new requirements and encouraging compliance.

It is intended that the legislation will result in:

  • improved standards of letting and management practice in the private rented sector

  • more information on landlords available for tenant verification and for local authorities to assist with strategic intervention and dissemination of information

  • raised awareness by landlords and agents of their respective rights and responsibilities

  • in turn, raised awareness by tenants of their respective rights and responsibilities.

With the introduction of this new legislation, landlords and agents must comply and become registered and licensed via Rent Smart Wales. This will mean that:

  • all private landlords who have a rental property in Wales must register themselves and the addresses of their rental properties in Wales

  • landlords who undertake defined letting or property management activities at a rental property in Wales must apply for a licence. If a landlord instructs an agent to do such work on their behalf, it is that agent who must become licensed

  • in order to get a licence a person must be adequately trained, and also declare themselves ‘fit and proper’

  • licensing training will be offered through Rent Smart Wales or people can choose to attend Rent Smart Wales approved training courses delivered by other bodies.

We have given powers to the licensing authority to administer the new legal system and register landlords and grant licences. After the initial year of operation, from 23 November 2016, the range of enforcement powers in the Housing (Wales) Act 2014 (such as fixed penalty notices and prosecutions) will be introduced and landlords and agents found to be ignoring their new obligations will have action taken against them by local authorities and the licensing authority. This will give people a year to comply without fear of legal action.

The new legislation and Rent Smart Wales will replace the existing voluntaryLandlord Accreditation Wales (external link) scheme, which has been operated by Cardiff Council on behalf of all local authorities in Wales.