Rent Smart Wales is here - are you prepared?
After months of uncertainty about when Rent Smart Wales would finally launch ("autumn 2015" wasn't a very informative date!), the new licensing scheme finally launched on 23 November. The confusion surrounding the launch date means unsurprisingly, many landlords were not, and still aren't aware of this new scheme and what it means for them.
If you’re a landlord that’s not fully aware of the Rent Smart Wales scheme, here at Capital Properties, we have answered some of the key questions you may have.
What is Rent Smart Wales?
The primary objective of Rent Smart Wales is to improve standards among landlords and lettings/management agents (such as Capital Properties) in the private-rental sector. Landlords and lettings agents in Wales will have 12 months (until 23 November 2016) to register with the scheme and, if necessary, apply for a licence.
With Rent Smart Wales, the Welsh Government hopes to create a private-rental sector which respects tenants and landlords by discouraging the presence of rogue landlords through registration and training. Rent Smart Wales will allow tenants to verify information about a property, and allow local authorities to assist with the sharing of information about properties.
Rent Smart Wales replaces the voluntary Landlord Accreditation Wales which was operated by Cardiff Council.
What do I need to do?
Depending on whether you are a landlord who manages a property yourself or a landlord who has their property managed through a letting agent, you will have to either register and obtain a licence or just register with the scheme. If you are a private landlord with property in Wales you must register yourself and all of the rental properties you own in Wales.
If you also take responsibility for letting a property yourself, you must obtain a licence, however, by letting through an agent, it is they who will have to become licensed. To obtain this licence, a landlord must attend an approved training course which is offered through Rent Smart Wales. The training is offered either online or through a one-day course and will show landlords what expectations are required of them; all training is offered and given by authorised personnel.
If you haven’t registered and become licensed (if necessary) by 23 November 2016 you will be liable to suffer a fixed penalty notice and prosecution, so it pays to be registered – there is literally is no place to hide for rogue landlords anymore!
Landlord registration costs £33.50 when done online, or £80.50 if a paper form is required. The cost to obtain a licence is £144.00 if done online, and when the paper form is available in the New Year, it will cost £186.00 to apply through that means.
I have more questions!
Rent Smart Wales has released an FAQ which covers most of the problems or queries landlords and agents may have with the new legislation.
The FAQ answers questions about allowing an agent to register for a landlord, further details on the training that must be completed to obtain a licence, and whether or not you need to include rental properties outside of Wales.
If you weren’t able to find the answers you were looking for, or if you’re a landlord letting a property through Capital Properties, please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need advice or assistance.