With the summer coming to a close, many are getting prepared to get back into the work frame of mind. We are urging those landlords who are yet to register or obtain a licence with Rent Smart Wales to make that a priority in the forthcoming weeks as the first prosecutions are made under the Rent Smart Wales laws.
The first successful prosecution is believed to be Robert Grovel from Cwmbran, who was hit with a court bill of £5,570 for operating an unlicensed HMO and breaching Rent Smart Wales licensing requirements.
Mr. Grovell was fined £4,400 by Newport magistrates and ordered to pay £1,000 in costs, as well as a £170 victim surcharge.
Although registered with Rent Smart Wales, magistrates were told he had not applied for a licence, and he pleaded guilty to violating Welsh Housing law.
A second protection was made more recently against Shelley Bailey of Eastwood Park, Wotton-Under-Edge, Gloucestershire.
Ms Bailey was issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice of £150 in April. Her failure to pay led to the prosecution by Cardiff Council, who operate the scheme on behalf of the Welsh Government.
She was found guilty of 21 offences in her absence at Cardiff Magistrates Court, and was subsequently fined £3,580, and ordered to pay £457 in costs.
Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, Councillor Lynda Thorne, said “This case shows that we are actively seeking out those who fail to comply and are working with Local Authorities across Wales and others to identify cases of non-compliance. We’re keen to hear from tenants and neighbours who have concerns about unregistered landlords and properties. As we see with this prosecution, the sanctions for failing to comply with Rent Smart Wales are serious and the fine imposed reflects the complete disregard for the scheme shown by the landlord. It should be a stark warning to all those who are yet to comply and I encourage any unregistered or unlicensed landlords or agents not to delay.”
Fixed Penalty Notices
The Residental Landlords Association (RLA) has learnt through Freedom of Information requests that Rent Smart Wales has issued a further 12 Fixed Penalty Notices to non-compliant landlords.
Non-compliant landlords may also face rent stopping orders, rent repayment orders, and the loss of Section 21 rights.
Daniel Bellis, the Policy Officer for the RLA reports that 20% of landlords with residential rental property in Wales are still not registered almost two years on from when the law came into effect.
To find out if you need to have a licence or need to book your training, please visit the Rent Smart Wales website.
If you are a tenant and want to check if your landlord or agent has a licence or is registered, you can do so by clicking here.