As lawyers we often deal with complaints from landlords and tenants. In my opinion a lot of the unhappiness can be avoided if both parties know the rules, communicate properly with each other and stick to their side of the bargain. Some positive changes are happening in Wales and the authorities have introduced a new system that includes having a central register for landlords renting out properties and an additional requirement of licencing those landlords/agents who manage or let rented properties.
What are the new rules?
If you are a landlord in Wales you must now register on a central register and additionally, those landlords who self-let or self-manage their properties may also need to apply for a landlord license. The applications for both the landlord registration and the landlord license is administered by Rent Smart Wales and needs to be obtained by 23 November 2016.
Am I a landlord?
For the purpose of this requirement you may be a landlord if you:
- are entitled to possession of a property in Wales (and in most cases, we assume that this will be the owner(s) of the property);
- allow someone else to live in that property (as their main residence), and they pay you money to live there or;
- rent the property on an assured, assured shorthold or regulated tenancy.
What you need to do
Landlords in Wales should visit the Rent Smart Wales website for full details on the information, cost (from £33.50 online), process and evidence that is required for a valid landlord registration. Please note that only the landlord can complete the registration, your agent or someone else cannot do it on your behalf. Once confirmed the registration will usually continue for 5 years, subject to changes and revocation.
Landlords and agents who manage properties
Landlords who are involved in letting activities (such as arranging viewings of properties or those preparing tenancy agreements) and property management activities (for example collecting rent or arranging for repairs) will also need to obtain a landlord license if you want to continue these activities after the deadline. Letting agents performing these duties on behalf of landlords will need to apply for an agents license.
Anyone applying for a landlord license or an agents license with Rent Smart Wales will need to provide certain information and this includes:
· the required information on the form (name, address of applicant and rented property address etc);
· evidence of having completed suitable landlord training (either completed through Rent Smart or an authorised provider);
· a declaration that the landlord or agent is “fit and able” to perform their duties;
· the correct fee.
The landlords license and agents license will usually last for 5 years subject to the fulfilling the conditions on the license that will include a duty to follow the statutory code of practice that can be found here.
Failure to comply
This is quite serious as you may be committing a criminal offence and there are severe penalties and restrictions that apply for breaches of the new rules.
If this information is of interest or relevance to you please visit the Rent Smart website by clicking here.
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Rent Smart Wales process landlord registrations and grant licences to landlords and agents who need to comply with the Housing (Wales) Act 2014. In addition we offer training for people who need a licence and authorise other providers to run approved courses which are also suitable for licensing purposes.