Further to our many blogs and news articles, the date for the official launch of Rent Smart Wales has now been confirmed as the 23rd November 2015. Rent Smart Wales is the name for the new registration and licensing requirements under Part 1 of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014.
From this date, Landlords and Agents will be able to register their properties and apply for licenses through the Rent Smart Wales website. There will then be a window of 12 months for all Landlords and Agents with property let in Wales to comply with the legislation before action will be taken.
The aim of Rent Smart Wales is to improve the image of the private rented sector, improve the practices of landlords and agents and help to tackle the bad practice in the industry.
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 and in turn,
- Raised awareness by tenants of their respective rights and responsibilities.
It has also been confirmed that in addition to the above, letting agents will have to hold Client Money Protection insurance (CMP), be a member of a Property Ombudsman and hold Professional Indemnity Insurance in order to get a licence. Agents who do not have a licence will be subject to the same penalties as landlords and will not be allowed to trade.
So who does it affect?
Every Landlord and Letting/Estate Agent who lets out a residential property in Wales is affected by this legislation. It will be a legal requirement for all Landlords to be registered and those who manage their own properties and Agents who manage on behalf of Landlords need to be licensed. There will be a lead in time of 12 months before any action will be taken against Landlords and Agents who do not comply.
Am I a Landlord?
If you own a property that is not your main residence, that you receive an income on (however minimal) then you are considered a Landlord. Even if you do not have a ‘contract’ in place, the Housing & Tenants Act still applies and its statutory requirements. If you own a property with someone else, both of you will need to register.
Do I need a Licence?
Landlords who manage their own properties, (even if they let to a family member or friend) or have any type of interest in managing the property (such as arranging repairs) will need a licence.
What if I have a Managed Service?
You will still need to register your details and your property with Rent Smart Wales but you will not need to obtain a licence. Your Letting Agent will require a licence and every member of their staff will have been required to undertake training in order for the company to have obtained the licence.
How do I get a Licence?
The ‘Rent Smart Wales’ website is the system in which Landlords and Agents will be able to upload their information to be registered and licensed.
The new website is informative and easy to use and from the 23rd November it will be ready for Landlords to register their properties and apply for a licence. For the moment you can register your email addresses for updates but as yet it is not fully operational until the launch date. In order to get a licence you will need to ensure you:
- Are a fit and proper person· Undertake a day’s training course – new courses TBC· Register each property you rent in Wales
· Register your own details
· Pay a licensing fee (still yet to be set)
Once licences have been obtained they should be valid for 5 years.
The team at McCartan Lettings have all undergone the training, are Accredited with Landlord Accreditation Wales and should be one of the first Agents to obtain the licence in Swansea when it becomes available.
In the meantime, if you have any questions or would like to discuss how this legislation affects you, please do not hesitate in giving us a call on 01792 430100. Alternatively if you have a friend or relative with a rental property in Wales, please share this blog!