WHAT IS IT?
Rent Smart Wales is a new body set up under the Housing Act (Wales) 2014 and is administered by Cardiff Council, which has been defined as the Licensing Authority for the whole of Wales. It processes the new applications for licences and registration set up as a consequence of the Act. It is administered by a single authority to ensure the process is more user friendly for landlords, agents and tenants.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR LANDLORDS AND AGENTS?
Under Housing (Wales) Act 2014 all landlords and agents have new legal obligations put upon them since 23 November 2015. Landlords will need to register and in appropriate cases obtain a licence, as will agents.
HOW DO LANDLORDS AND AGENTS COMPLY WITH THESE NEW OBLIGATIONS?
As a landlord ask the questions:
- do you own a property in which you do not live,
- which another person occupies as their main home and pays you rent for,
- and it is let on an assured, assured shorthold or regulated tenancy?
- if so, then you need to register.
The fee is £33.50 for applications made online, £80.50 if you make a paper application and once registered you are registered for 5 years. You must notify RSW of any changes to your portfolio within 28 days. The application can be completed online at www.rentsmart.gov.wales or by contacting Rent Smart Wales on 03000 133344.
If you manage your own properties, as opposed to using an agent, you will also need to apply for a licence. Managing includes
- arranging viewings,
- undertaking pre-tenancy checks,
- drafting tenancy agreements, dealing with collection of rent,
- dealing with repairs issues, serving notices,
- or undertaking any task which a landlord would reasonably be expected to do.
The fee is £144.00 on line and £186.00 if undertaken on paper, and is subject to a requirement that a landlord undertake a training course. There are exemptions for landlords who have taken course(s) to comply with the previous landlord accreditation in Wales. You must also be able to sign a fit and proper person declaration.
As an agent a similar scheme is in force as above. If an individual or a company applying for a licence employs staff whose work involves carrying out letting and management work at rental properties in Wales, then they must be declared on the licence application by the applicant and they must all complete agent training in order for the applicant to obtain a licence.
Once granted they will receive a licence form and if the individual or company has a high street presence a sticker for the window.
How long does a licence last?
Once a licence is granted, it lasts for 5 years. The applicant (either the landlord or the agent) must keep the information in the licence application up to date, and comply with any conditions. They must also adhere to the Code of Practice. A failure to comply can lead to the removal of the licence which means that the person will not be able to take part in any letting or management work on behalf of a landlord.
How long does it take for RSW to process applications?
We understand that it is taking at least 8 weeks at the present time for applications to be processed. As registration is mandatory from 23rd November 2016 we advise that those seeking to register submit their applications as early as possible.
Is there any guarantee that I will be approved and issued a licence?
No, we are aware of situations where applicants have been refused a licence and are having to submit an appeal against the refusal decision.
Can Law for Landlords assist with an appeal?
Yes, this is something that we can indeed help with. Call us for more details.
Post amended 04/08/2016