The Housing (Wales) Act 2014 requires that from 23rd November 2015 every Landlord in Wales must register themselves and any residential rental property that they own.
In order to register a Landlord must visit www.rentsmart.gov.wales to set up an account and work through the online process. A Landlord must complete the registration themselves; an agent or anyone else cannot do this on their behalf. All registered Landlords will then be issued with a unique registration number which should be clearly displayed on all new Tenancy Agreements and documentation.
Who is the Landlord?
For the purpose of the legislation, a Landlord is the person who is entitled to possession of the property, in most cases this will be the owner of the property. A Landlord may be an individual person, a group of people or a company (depending upon how the property is owned). If the property being registered is in joint ownership, one lead owner must register it on behalf of all other owners. If a property is owned by a company, the company must register as the Landlord.
How much does it cost?
A Landlord registration costs £33.50 if completed online or £80.50 if completed via paper application. The cost of registration does not increase if more than one rental property is part of the registration.
What rental properties must be registered?
A Landlord must include the addresses of all residential rental properties let on assured, assured shorthold or regulated tenancies in Wales.
How long does registration last?
A Landlord’s registration lasts for 5 years after which time they must re-register.
What if my details change?
During the registered period a Landlord must keep all information up to date. Under the legislation Rent Smart Wales should be notified of the following:-
• Any change in name; correspondence address; contact telephone number; e-mail address or other contact information provided as part of the registration;
• Any change to undertake management at the registered rental property (for which they would need a licence from Rent Smart Wales);
• Any changes of interest the Landlord has with the rental property (for example if they sell a registered property);
• Any acquisition of another property subject, marketed or offered to let under a domestic tenancy in Wales.
In addition to registration, any Landlord that seeks to self-manage their property on a day to day basis will also be required to obtain a licence.
If you undertake any of the following then you will be considered to self-manage the property:-
• arranging or conducting viewings with prospective Tenants;
• gathering evidence for the purpose of establishing the suitability of prospective Tenants (for example, by confirming character references, undertaking credit checks or interviewing a prospective Tenant);
• preparing or arranging the preparation of a Tenancy Agreement;
• preparing or arranging the preparation of an Inventory for the dwelling or Schedule of Condition for the dwelling;
• collecting rent;
• being the principal point of contact for the Tenant in relation to matters arising under the tenancy;
• making arrangements with a person to carry out repairs or maintenance;
• making arrangements with a Tenant or occupier of the dwelling to secure access to the dwelling for any purpose;
• checking the contents or condition of the dwelling, or arranging for them to be checked as part of a current tenancy or for one which has ended;
• serving notice to terminate a tenancy.
How to obtain a licence?
To commence an application for a licence, a Landlord can download and print a form to send by post; this can be downloaded in your registered account on Rent Smart Wales. If you are a joint Landlord who is not the lead registering Landlord, you will need to create your own account in order to download the application form and book training.
To submit a valid application for a licence, all required information must be submitted, evidence of suitable landlord training provided and the ‘fit and proper person’ declaration must be completed. The training necessary to obtain a licence can either be undertaken directly with Rent Smart Wales or with an approved training provider authorised by Rent Smart Wales.
Once a complete application is submitted to Rent Smart Wales it will be assessed to determine if a licence can be granted. Rent Smart Wales will also determine that the Landlord is ‘fit and proper’ (by ensuring they have no relevant convictions against them) and make sure the training that the Landlord has completed is suitable for licensing purposes.
Once a licence is awarded the Landlord will receive notification of their unique licence number and the conditions attached to their licence. The Landlord will also receive a licence card in the post.
How long does a licence last?
A licence will last for 5 years. During this time the Landlord must keep all information in their licence application up to date (for example any change in telephone number) and they must adhere to the Code of Practice. The Code of Practice was created by the Welsh Government as a way of ensuring a consistent standard of letting and management practice in line with legal requirements in Wales. If a licence holder fails to comply with any condition of their licence, or is no longer ‘fit and proper’, then their licence can be revoked. This is a serious sanction which means that the Landlord can no longer undertake any letting or management activities at any rental properties in Wales and instead must instruct a licensed agent to act on their behalf at all their rental properties.
What training do Landlords require?
If the applicant is an individual then that person must undertake the training themselves. If the applicant is a company or charity, the people that it employs (under a contract of service) who carry out letting and management work as part of their employment, must undertake training for the applicant to receive its licence.
Training for Landlords is provided through a one day course which covers the main aspects of renting out and managing private rented accommodation in Wales. The course aims to set out the various rights, responsibilities and obligations of both Landlords and their Tenants in an interactive and informative manner. Online training options will be launched in 2016 for those Landlords who do not find attending a course convenient. All self-managing Landlords have until Wednesday 23rd November 2016 to obtain their licence.
Can I train locally?
Landlord training sessions regularly take place in Carmarthen and Swansea at a cost of £100.00 per person (at the time of print). Visit www.rentsmart.gov.wales/en/courses to book your course.
For informed and expert advice in relation to any aspect of Landlord and Tenant Law including the preparation of tenancy agreements for your rental property, please telephone our experienced Property Team on 01267 237441 for a free no obligation telephone call or initial 30 minute consultation. We can also advise on the recovery of any rent arrears or re-possession of the property.