Cardiff Council in particular are working on a number of schemes which may affect landlords.
Amendments to planning guidance
In Wales, a dwelling normally has a permitted use for occupation by persons living together as a family or for up to six people living together as a single household  (normally this would mean a joint and several tenancy if rented). If however, there is more than one household (so a property let on a room by room basis) this would normally need planning permission as would any letting of over six persons. In reality though local authorities rarely enforced except for larger developments.
Cardiff council is proposing to amend their planning guidance which will affect new alterations to dwellings including where there will be more than six persons (or more than two people occupying if on a room by room basis unless they are occupying as a single household).
Other proposed changes include:
- If floors are lowered, it must not affect the external appearance of the property.
- New floors must not cut across existing window openings.
- Subdivision of rooms will not be acceptable unless rooms are excessively large.
- A living room with just roof-lights will not be acceptable.
- A minimum of 25m² amenity space must be provided, excluding bin stores.
- Covered cycle storage must be provided.
- Bedrooms in attic space must have a minimum floor to ceiling height of 2m of 75% of the measurable floor area.
Because planning was often required regardless of the proposed changes to the guidance, it might be that existing properties which do not have planning currently may find themselves on the end of enforcement action although it remains to be seen if Cardiff Council has sufficient resources to consider parts of the new guidance retrospectively.
If you are affected by these possible changes to guidance and wish to be put in touch with other landlords on the Cardiff forum, please contact us and we can provide you with an information release provide by some landlords.
Consultation on Additional Licensing for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in Plasnewydd
There is currently an ongoing consultation about a proposal for additional licensing in Plasnewydd which landlords and residents are urged to respond to using the link provided.
You can respond via an on-line survey but you can also reply in writing to Cardiff Council. The consultation ends 22 May 2014.
Anybody who is affected by this, please contact us and we can provide further information provided by members of the Cardiff forum.
Welsh Agent and Landlord Licensing Scheme (WALLS)
The Welsh Housing Bill is still going through the National Assembly for Wales. The bill includes the proposal to license all landlords and agents in Wales which will include an element of training to be required based on the current Wales accreditation scheme.
There is much speculation about what might and might not happen. The Guild of Residential Landlords is one of the members of the committee (in particular the licensing and accreditation element) and there’s a lot of false information that is being circulated.
As long term subscribers to the Guild know, we don’t get involved with speculation and news stories just to create dazzling or scare mongering headlines. When we know some hard facts and actual legislative proposals with more substance than currently, we will, as always report on them.