There are just a few weeks now remaining until it becomes compulsory for all landlords and agents in Wales to register with a central licensing authority and obtain a new type of licence, viathe Rent Smart Wales initiative.
Under the new law, being introduced this autumn, with a view to improve letting and management standards for people who rent private accommodation in Wales, all landlords and agents will be required to take part in a new registration and licensing scheme, which forms a key part of The Housing (Wales) Act 2014.
This new legislation will see Wales become the first country in the UK where managing landlords and agents are obliged toobtain a new type of licence as well as undertake training to ensure they are aware of their rights and responsibilities.
The new Rent Smart Wales scheme will replace the existing voluntary Landlord Accreditation Wales initiative, which has been operated by Cardiff Council on behalf of all local authorities in Wales.
The aim of the new legislation is ultimately to increase awareness among landlords, tenants and agents of their respective rights and responsibilities, as well as improve standards in the PRS.
All private landlords who own a rental home in Wales must register themselves and the addresses of their properties in Wales and those who undertake defined letting or property management activities at a rental property in Wales must apply for a licence.
If a landlord instructs an agent to do such work on their behalf, it is that agent who must become licensed and in order to get a licence a person must be adequately trained, and also declare themselves ‘fit and proper’.
Agents and landlords can undertake licensing training through Rent Smart Wales or a Rent Smart Wales approved training course delivered by another body.
She commented, “We know approximately 184,000 homes in Wales, around one in seven, are now privately rented. With so many people renting, a strong sector with good working practices is absolutely essential.”
“The new legislation we are introducing will not only improve the situation for tenants, informing them of their rights and responsibilities, it will also help good landlords by improving the sector’s reputation,” she added.
Cardiff Council, which currently operates the existing voluntary Landlord Accreditation Wales scheme, will be the licensing authority for the new statutory scheme, Rent Smart Wales, on behalf of all local authorities.
Bob Derbyshire, Cardiff Council cabinet member for the environment, said, “The scheme demonstrates the value of training and the development of positive relationships with landlords based on a better understanding of responsibilities and the potential risks of getting things wrong.”
He added, “Rent Smart Wales is the next step, building on this early success, and provides an exciting opportunity for Wales to lead the way in professionalising the private rented sector through focusing on supporting landlords to get things right first time.”