Rent Smart Wales, the name for the registration and licensing requirements under Part 1 of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014 has now been launched.
From 23rd November 2015, 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
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. In order to get a licence you will need to ensure you:
▪ Improved standards of letting and management practice in the private rented sector ▪ Undertake a day’s training course ▪ Register each property you rent in Wales ▪ Register your own details ▪ Pay a registration fee of £33.50 and if applicable a licence fee of £144.00
Once licences have been obtained they should be valid for 5 years.
To register yourself as a landlord, please visit the Rent Smart Wales website here