Landlords have a deadline of 23 November 2016 to be registered and licensed under the Housing (Wales) Act 2014. The Act requires all landlords with property in Wales to register with Rent Smart Wales and to either be licensed themselves if they’re managing the let or use a licensed agent.
Landlords may register online for a fee (currently £33.50). Paper applications will cost more (currently £80.50). The registration has to be renewed every 5 years and the fee is again payable at that point. Some registration details are publicly available.
Landlords who manage their rental properties will need to apply for a license online for a fee (currently £144.00). Paper applications will cost more (currently £186.00). Landlords will only need 1 license irrespective of the number of properties they manage. The license must be renewed every 5 years and a fee is again payable on renewal. Landlords will also need to undertake relevant training and comply with a Welsh Minister approved Code of Practice.
The training is provided by Rent Smart Wales and other authorised providers. The training provides, at a minimum the following:
- the statutory obligations of a landlord and tenant;
- the contractual relationship between a landlord and tenant;
- the role of an agent who carries out lettings work or property management work;
- best practice in letting and managing dwellings subject to, or marketed or offered for let under, a domestic tenancy;
- the role of a landlord who carries out lettings activities or property management activities.
Landlords are advised to attend the one-day training in person however, Rent Smart Wales provides online courses too.
Code of Practice
The Rent Smart Wales code of practice comprises 2 elements. First, what landlords and agents managing rental property in Wales must do and second, what they can do to raise standards above the legal minimum. A landlord or agent who fails to comply with the requirements of the code could lose their licence and thus their right to let or manage their rental properties.
The penalties are substantial and involve criminal prosecution, the inability to serve a section 21 notice and orders preventing the collection of and requiring the repayment of rent.
This part of the Act was brought into force in November 2015 and 12 months was intentionally allowed for compliance. Therefore, it is very likely that an aggressive approach will be taken to prosecution and other penalties from November 2016.