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You may have read our previous article on the proposed plans for Landlord/Agent registration and licensing in Wales. While the full details are yet to be confirmed, we now know that the system, called Rent Smart Wales, is due to commence in Autumn 2015.
With lettings agents having to meet strict requirements in order to obtain a licence and continue trading, landlords using an letting agent who doesn’t meet the specific criteria will be forced to employ the services of an alternative company.
As a landlord, even if you don’t find tenants or manage properties yourself, you will still be required to:
The purpose of the register is to identify rented properties and assist local authorities with information dissemination. The register won’t be public information, but tenants will have the ability to verify landlords against it.
If you find tenants and/or manage at least one property yourself (i.e. collect rent, organise safety certificates, arrange maintenance), you will also be required to:
Imposing landlord licensing ensures those who deal with rented properties day-to-day are fit, proper and accountable. It also means unsuitable persons will be unable to manage homes.
Just like landlords, letting agents must also obtain a licence if they wish to continue trading. Strict requirements are in place on agents applying for a licence, including:
At CPS Homes, we’re in a position to obtain a licence as soon as the system is officially rolled out.
Many agents in the area, however, are not members of ARLA and do not have a Client Money Protection policy in place, so will be unable to gain a licence. What they intend to do about the situation remains to be seen, but we predict many will cease trading, forcing their landlords to use an alternative agent.
If you have already had training via Landlord Accreditation Wales (LAW), it will be recognised for the purpose of landlord licensing, so you’re unlikely to be required to do anything further. Additionally, your LAW data will be migrated across to the new database, so you should have little to do in order to register and obtain a licence.
Welsh Ministers have designated Cardiff Council as the authority to administer the system on behalf of the whole country, meaning they will grant registrations and licences. One registration and one licence cover landlords for the whole of Wales.
‘Rogue’ landlords, i.e. those who haven’t registered or are found to be managing a property without a licence, can be dealt with via a plethora of enforcement tools available to their local authority:
Enforcement powers will be enacted a year after the Landlord/Agent registration and licensing comes into effect, giving landlords plenty of time between Autumn 2015 and Autumn 2016 to comply.
As explained above, we have a rough idea of what the fees are going to be for registration and licensing, but nothing exact just yet. Also, it’s not wholly clear what information will be requested when applying for registration or a licence, but the whole process should be possible online – with a postal option available too.
In terms of landlord training requirements, the exact content is yet to be decided, but it’s likely to mirror the Landlord Accreditation Wales course content referred to above.
More clarified information is set to be published as we approach the date of implementation.
With more landlords and lettings agents made to undergo training on their respective rights and responsibilities, Rent Smart Wales is expected to result in improved management standards within the private rented sector. The aim is to improve knowledge and raise confidence – tenants’ confidence in landlords & lettings agents and vice-versa.
If you have any concerns about what Rent Smart Wales means to you as a landlord, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re experts in the field and we’re here to help. Please call us on 02920 668585 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.