Are you are buy-to-let landlord in Wales? Is your property rented out on an assured, assured shorthold or regulated tenancy? If the answer is yes, it is imperative that you are aware of Rent Smart Wales, a mandatory licensing scheme.
Rent Smart Wales was brought in as part of the Housing Act (Wales) 2014. The scheme makes it a mandatory requirement for all private landlords to register themselves and their properties by November 23rd. 2016
Landlords involved in letting and management activities will also have to undertake training.
What is Rent Smart Wales?
The scheme was brought in with the aim of driving up standards in the private rented sector in Wales. Rent Smart Wales is a service housed within Cardiff Council, acting as an administrator for the whole country.
This was decided upon in order to make the service easier for landlords, agents and tenants to access.
One central register means that you as a landlord must only complete a single registration. Should you self-manage your property, you only need apply for a single licence, which will cover you for the whole country. The same applies to letting agents.
The Licencing Authority is to work with local authorities in order to carry out their necessary functions under the scheme.
Registering online is the cheapest and easiest method and can be done through the Rent Smart Wales website. You must create an account and from there you will be guided through the simple process.
You will be asked to provide your date of birth, correspondence details and the full address of each of your rental properties. Online, the landlord fee for registering is £33.50. Should you use a paper registration, this fee rises to £80.50 and you can pay over the phone.
Once registration is confirmed, you will receive a unique registration number.
If you are an agent, or an employee of an agent instructed by a landlord to carry out letting work for a rental property in Wales, you must apply for an Agent Licence. Again, this can be completed via the Rent Smart Wales website.
In addition, you must also complete a training top up, in order to qualify for your agent licence.
Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children, Carl Sargeant, said, ‘Rent Smart Wales is a landmark scheme that will drive up standards in the private rented sector by requiring managing landlords and agents to undertake training to ensure they are clear on their responsibilities. It will help prevent the involvement of rogue, and even criminal, landlords and agents in the management and letting of properties.’
‘The scheme will help to protect tenants in the private rented sector, and will support good landlords and agents by helping them keep abreast of their responsibilities and legal obligations, raising the reputation of the sector as a whole.’
‘The deadline for registration is now less than five months away. I would urge those who have not yet done so to discharge their legal responsibilities to register as soon as possible because, whilst registration can be completed simply and quickly on-line, the licensing process can take up to eight weeks to complete.’