A new landlord licensing and registration scheme which was introduced on rental properties in Wales last November has issued its first fine.
The £4,400 penalty serves as a stark reminder to thousands of Welsh landlords, as well as those based in England with rental properties in Wales, that they cannot afford to not register.
The Rent Smart Wales scheme was introduced to improve the supply, quality and overall standard of Welsh rental properties, of which it is anticipated there are around 185,000, and in doing so root out rogue landlords.
Lauren Bryan, a legal property expert at FBC Manby Bowdler in Shrewsbury, comments:
“When this scheme was developed as part of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014, it was done so to ensure that all landlords, as well as letting and management agents, were both registered and licensed so that overall standards of Welsh rental properties improved.
“The action by Newport City Council to prosecute a landlord operating a dangerous, unlicensed house in multiple occupancy and failing to comply with Rent Smart Wales is encouraging as it shows the scheme doing what it set out to do. It should, however, also act as a wake-up call to those landlords who continue to flout the law by not registering and getting licensed as per the terms of the scheme.
“I’d encourage any landlord with a property in Wales who is yet to register to act with the utmost urgency – not only to protect themselves against prosecution, but importantly to ensure the safety of their tenants too.”
Prior to the deadline to register in November 2016, there was some criticism around the complexity of the registration process but plenty of advice is available to landlords and as Lauren concludes, by completing the application, landlords automatically gain access to guidance that will allow them to improve in their roles.
“Any landlord who has put off going through the registration process due to concerns about its complexity should seek urgent advice either from Rent Smart Wales or their local legal property executive.
“Once registered, a landlord will need to assess if they’ll also need a license. That licence will last for five years and will require the landlord to comply with the scheme’s Code of Practice. My advice to all landlords is that this is a good thing which will strengthen their reputations and safeguard their future ability to let their properties.”
Lauren can be contacted on 01743 266261 or L.Bryan@fbcmb.co.uk for further information or advice on either the Rent Smart Wales scheme or the new Renting Homes Wales Act.