Rent Smart Wales which is the brand name given to the registration and licensing requirements under the Housing (Wales) Act 2014, has announced that it will be launching on 23 November 2015.
Under the provisions, all landlords will be required to register and all persons who manage property (both landlords and agents) will require a license.
Landlords will have 12 months from 23 November 2015 to register with the scheme before the enforcement provisions start.
Registration lasts indefinitely (subject to certain conditions) but a charge can be made for it to continue “after the fifth anniversary of the date the landlord was registered” 1.
A 12 months grace period is also being given for self managing landlords to obtain a licence before enforcement starts. The same period is also being given to letting and managing agents who must obtain a licence to continue to operate after the grace period.
A licence must be granted for a fixed period of five years with no power to incentivise by offering longer licenses 2. (But, presumably other incentives could be offered during the grace period such as cost).
In order to be granted a licence, some form of training will be required to be completed by the landlord or agent.
Lesley Griffiths AM, Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty said yesterday:
“… now is when the real work begins. Following its launch, the next 12 months will see landlords registering their details with Rent Smart Wales and, for some of them, they will be considering whether they wish to become licensed themselves, or hand over the managing and letting activities of their properties to a licensed agent. Alternatively they may opt for a scenario which requires both.
I am sure letting agents will be busy too, making sure their business is heading towards compliance with their new licensing obligations. Despite the 12 month grace-period we have allowed to meet the new requirements, I know many letting agents are keen to comply with their new duties as soon as possible, as they wish to ensure their client landlords are reassured they are licensed and thus fully compliant with the law.”
Landlords and agents can sign up for updates on the Rent Smart Wales website and we will be providing constant updates on this website too.
From 23 November 2016, it will be an offence for the landlord of a prescribed rental property to not be registered and for any person letting or managing certain rental properties to not have a licence.
Full details of who needs to be registered and / or licensed can be found on our article here.