With only twenty-four hours to go until the 23rd November deadline for all landlords and letting agents to be registered and licensed, the team at Rent Smart Wales say there are no excuses for non-compliance and missing the deadline. Enforcement officers will start working with local authorities from the deadline, initially targeting those landlords and letting agents who have yet to start the process.
From the 23rd November 2016, all landlords must register themselves and their properties with Rent Smart Wales. Those who self-manage and manage other peoples’ properties, such as letting agents, will require a licence. Rent Smart Wales comments “Landlords and agents in Wales will have had a full year to comply since the launch of the scheme in November 2015.
“We have run a comprehensive awareness raising campaign and believe landlords are aware of their legal obligations.
“The large increase in numbers registering as the deadline approaches illustrates this.
“We have no intention of extending the deadline. However, we do recognise that, due the very high numbers of landlords visiting the website to register and apply for licences, some are experiencing difficulties. The Rent Smart Wales team consists of 79 posts and the team are working hard to reduce waiting times for customers.
“Once the November 23 deadline for complying has passed, enforcement powers will be used in a sensible and proportionate manner. Our team of enforcement officers will be working in partnership with local authorities across Wales and priority for action will be those landlords/agents who have failed to start the process of complying with the legislation.”
The latest figures from Cardiff Council, up to the end of October, show that 38,782 landlords are registered and 10,386 registration applications are being assessed, while 3,073 have a licence and 3,986 licence applications are being assessed. Rent Smart Wales has issued 303 licences for letting agents but a further 576 are in process. The landlord numbers fall well short of the 130,000 estimated landlords in Wales, although a Cardiff Council spokesman said it was wrong to draw the conclusion from these numbers that there would be a shortfall.
David Cox, managing director of ARLA, said it was concerning that many had not yet applied for licences. He said: “If landlords and agents find themselves unlicensed when the deadline arrives on November 23, they will be unable to practise, so it’s important to act soon to ensure the necessary qualifications and other regulatory requirements have been undertaken before then, in order to comply with the legislation.”
To register your details and to obtain a licence you must visit the Rent Smart Wales website. Registration only takes a few minutes, but licensing entails successfully completing a course and it takes 8 weeks to process. The team at McCartan Lettings strongly advises all landlords to act today to avoid the risks of non-compliance (which includes fines, rent stopping orders, and restrictions in Section 21 notices).