It has been a year since it became a legal obligation for landlords and agents operating in Wales to be registered and licensed under Rent Smart Wales (RSW).
The legislation officially came into effect in November 2015. The November 2016 deadline marked the end of a grace period for landlords and agents, who were given a year to comply before policing and enforcement would begin.
Enforcement of Rent Smart Wales
Almost two years in, it has been reported that the first non-compliant letting agent has been successfully prosecuted. They have received a fine of £4,600 and have been ordered to comply immediately.
The first non-compliant landlord received a fine of £5,570 back in May this year. Cardiff Council described the guilty verdict brought against Cwmbran landlord Robert Grovell as “a real milestone”.
In reality, enforcement officers are relying on agents, tenants, and neighbours to report non-compliant landlords.
Agents can only offer information on the landlords they come into contact with. Assuming tenants might feel a greater allegiance to the Welsh Government than the person putting a roof over their head and expecting them to report their own landlords might be a little optimistic.
There have also been questions surrounding whether RSW have the man-power to really tackle rogues continuing to trade below the radar, which doesn’t do much to inspire any further confidence.
Rent Smart Wales Figures
We are still no clearer on just how many landlords are operating in Wales. Without knowing how many landlords there are, there is no real way to measure the success of the Welsh Government’s Landlord Licensing Scheme.
Rent Smart Wales are reporting that:
- 85,265 landlords have now registered with the scheme
- 16,716 licenses have been issued
- 2,641 agents have obtained licenses
- 173,636 properties have been registered
- 10,072 registrations have been started but not yet finished
- 7,279 landlords and agents are currently being assessed
On the FAQ section of their website, RSW are not able to advise when the applications currently being processed will be completed, suggesting wait-times may now exceed the initially-advertised eight weeks.
In an article published on Friday, the BBC quoted RSW as saying they believed there were 90,000 landlords currently operating in Wales, meaning by their statistics, the majority have now registered. Where this figure has come from, however, is unclear.
Fit and Proper
Are you a landlord currently operating in Wales without being registered/licensed with Rent Smart Wales? Regardless of the apparent issues with enforcement, it is the law, and the aim of the legislation – to improve knowledge and standards in the Private Rented Sector – is a noble one. Click here to visit the Rent Smart Wales website today to start your application.
If you are a Rent Smart Wales registered landlord looking for an agent to manage your property, give the team at McCartan a call on 01792 430100 and we can arrange a free one hour property consultation for you.
Related: Rent Smart Wales begin Prosecuting