Licencing for Landlords and Agents In Wales Autumn 2015
The countdown to this new legislation coming into force has begun. 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.
From autumn 2015, landlords and agents must become registered and licensed via Rent Smart Wales (external link). 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 license. 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 license 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.
Powers are being given to the licensing authority from autumn 2015 to administer the new legal system and register landlords and grant licenses. After the initial year of operation, in autumn 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 voluntary Landlord Accreditation Wales scheme, which has been operated by Cardiff Council on behalf of all local authorities in Wales. If you are a landlord or agent who is interested in completing training at this point, you can still visit their scheme and attend training that will be recognized under the new licensing system until autumn 2015.