Dawsons Estate Agents are advising on a dramatic and imminent change in lettings legislation that will mean landlords and letting agents throughout Wales having to be licensed.
The exact date of that implementation has yet to be announced by the Welsh Assembly Government but Rent Smart Wales, the WAG agency providing guidance and information for landlords, agents and tenants, was launched ahead of the implementation of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014.
The new legislation and Rent Smart Wales will replace the existing voluntary scheme, which has been operated by Cardiff Council on behalf of all local authorities in Wales.
Although the Rent Smart Wales website is not yet fully operational agents and landlords will be able to apply for licences through it.
The scheme will require all private landlords to register both themselves and their properties. It will allow tenants to check whether their landlord is registered.
If the landlord wants to manage their own property, they will need to undertake training and demonstrate they are “fit and proper”.
Landlords who do not have a licence to manage their own properties would have to appoint a licensed agent to manage the property on their behalf. The agent will also have to undergo approved training.
Basically, if you own or manage a house in Wales, occupied by someone other than yourself in return for a rent, this new law will almost certainly apply to you.
After the first year of operation, enforcement powers will be introduced in autumn 2016, including fixed penalties and prosecutions.
Rent Smart Wales aims to 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.
After the initial year of operation, in autumn 2016, the range of enforcement powers in the Housing Act (such as fixed penalty notices and prosecutions) will be introduced.
Landlords and agents found to be ignoring their new obligations will have action taken against them by local authorities and the licensing authority.