-Since 23rd November 2015, The registration and licensing is operated and enforced by Cardiff City Council under the name of Rent Smart Wales. Rent Smart Wales process landlord registrations and grant licences to landlords and agents who need to comply with the Housing (Wales) Act 2014.
-Registration and licensing are two different elements under the housing (Wales) Act, Registration is entirely separate to licensing and only applies to landlords, The biggest change will be the introduction of compulsory licensing for landlords and letting agents for both the letting and management of tenanted properties.
-Any landlord who has a rental property in Wales which is rented on domestic tenancy ( an assured shorthold tenancy under the Housing Act 1988 or a regulated tenancy under the Rent Act 1977) is required to register, If a property has been recently purchased with an intention to let out, registration must be done within 28 days from when the property has been assigned to the landlord.
-It will become an offence to any landlord or agent who performs lettings or property management activities on a ‘domestic tenancy’ without licence, After 23rd November 2016 unless they become licensed or appoint a licensed letting agent to manage it on their behalf. Read more
Landlord Property Registration
A landlord is the person who is entitled to possession of the property(the owner of the property), could also be somebody who is named on the tenancy agreement and perhaps has an entitlement to possession some other way for example by subletting from a superior landlord.
There are new legal obligations on landlords who have rental property in Wales.
A landlord who must register therefore could be an individual person, a group of people or even a company (depending on 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 registers as the landlord, If the landlord lives outside of Wales and lets a property in Wales, the landlord must register any number of properties (One or more).
In order to register a landlord must provide accurate and up-to-date information about themselves and their rental properties in Wales.
A landlord must complete the registration themselves, An agent or another person who is not the landlord cannot do it on their behalf.
A property registration costs £33.50 if completed on-line. This is the cost for each landlord type registering, paper application form to complete instead of doing the registration on-line it costs £80.50,the cost for registration does not increase if more than one rental property is part of the registration.
Landlords who register the property and not licensed will also be able to specify that, Who manage the rented property on their behalf.
If a landlord acquires another property subject to, or marketed or offered for let under a domestic tenancy in Wales they are obliged to add it to their registration. A landlord has 28 days to do this within.
A property registration lasts 5 years after which time they must re-register. During the registered period a landlord must keep the information within it up to date (Change in name, Correspondence address, Telephone number, E-mail address or other contact information provided) By law, certain changes in information must be notified. Read more.
As you may have read, The Housing (Wales) Act 2014 has been enacted by the Welsh Assembly to allow a greater level of control over the housing market.
Some of the new legislation is due to launch in autumn this year, and from even the quickest of scan-reads, it’s clear to see that it will have a huge impact on landlords and agents.
Its compulsory for any landlord or agent who performs lettings or property management activities on a ‘domestic tenancy’ must have a licence before 23rd November 2016.
Any landlord or agent must complete training or approved course in order to obtain a licence. Read more.
The cost to undertake training for the licence is separate to the licensing fee.
You can apply for a licence online through Rent Smart Wales or you can request a paper licence application form by contacting Rent Smart Wales or download a form to complete and return by post. The landlord licence fee is currently £144.00 for applications completed online. Licence applications submitted via paper application forms cost £186.00.
Once a complete licence application is submitted to Rent Smart Wales it will be assessed to determine if a licence can be granted. This will involve confirming the application is complete and the correct fee has been paid. Also landlord must be ‘fit and proper’ (by ensuring they have no relevant convictions against them) and confirm the training is completed.
If a licence holder fails to comply with any condition of their licence, or is no longer ‘fit and proper’, their licence can be revoked. This is a serious action as it would mean a landlord could no longer control the letting and management activities at their rental properties. Instead they would have to appoint a licensed letting agent to manage it on their behalf. It will be an offence to appoint an unlicensed agent or manage the property without license.
Once a landlord is licensed it lasts for 5 years, After which time the applicant must keep the information in their licence application up to date (Change in name, Correspondence address, Telephone number, E-mail address or other contact information provided) and also comply with the conditions of the licence. One condition will always be to adhere to the Code of Practice. The Code of Practice has been created by the Welsh Government as a way to ensure a consistent standard of letting and management practice in Wales.
When The License Is Required
As a starting point, all named landlord’s or appointed agent on a tenancy agreement will require a licence because they will be a named contact for the tenancy.
If a landlord or an agent undertakes any of the following at a rental property in Wales, they must obtain a licence.
Landlord Letting Activities:
- 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.
Landlord Property Management Activities:
- 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.
A problem arises for self managing landlords if they wish to take time off (Holiday) or are forced to by hospital treatment. If a friend or relative wanted to assist with the management of a property whilst a landlord was away for a period, that friend or relative would need an agent licence before being able to assist because they are not the “ landlord” but are instead acting on instructions from the landlord, It will be a condition of all licences that training be completed by the applicant landlord and their connected persons(person or agent employed by the landlord to act on their behalf).