The Kevin Francis Guide to ‘Rent Smart Wales’ made simple

Rent Smart Wales:

 

The new name of the legislation that all Welsh Landlords and Letting Agents must follow. The Welsh Government announced on the 23 November 2015 that Rent Smart Wales from this date, will be introduced and means that anyone who owns and rents out private property in Wales, will have to register with the Central Licensing Authority, Cardiff County Council, where a Rent Smart Wales Team, website (www.rentsmart.gov.wales) and helpline will provide assistance is now live. The scheme was brought in by the Welsh Government with the objective of raising the standards in the private rented sector across Wales. This new legislation will see Wales become the first country in the UK where managing Landlords and Agents are obliged to undertake training, to ensure that they are aware of their rights and responsibilities.

What you need to know:

 

There are 2 requirements:

(1)  Registration (Registering as a Landlord) and (2) Licensing (to manage properties)

In more detail:

1. Landlord Registration:

Every Landlord, even if you do not find tenants or manage properties yourself, using a Letting Agent, will be required to register.

  • You can register online at www.rentsmart.gov.wales or via a paper application form.
  • You will need to provide your name, address, rental property or rental properties, addresses and your contact details and date of birth.  
  • Only the Landlord can complete the registration form. An Agent or third party cannot register on behalf of a Landlord. 
  • To complete the registration process you will be required to pay a fee. If you complete it online, the fee will be £33.50 but if you complete the paper form, the fee rises to £80.50.
  • Once you have registered, you must ensure you keep your correspondence, information and property address, up to date.
  • Registration will be valid for 5 years, after which a new registration must be made and a fee paid again.

The purpose of the register is to identify rented properties and assist local authorities with information dissemination. The register will not be public information, but Tenants and Letting Agents will have the ability to verify Landlords who have registered. It should be noted that, if a Landlord is not registered, the Letting Agent will not be in a position to list the property to rent.

2. Landlords Licensing (to manage properties):

As a Landlord, if you perform any property management, you must be licensed, but if you use an Agent, then it is the Agent who must be licensed. In order to apply for the licence, you must:

  • Undertake approved training. Licensing training will be offered through Rent Smart Wales, or you can choose to attend Rent Smart Wales approved training courses delivered by other bodies.
  • Complete the ‘fit and proper’ declaration.
  • Pay the £144.00 fee. You can at present only apply for a licence via paper application, but once the online application becomes available, the fee via paper application will increase to £186.00 and to apply online will remain at £144.00.

Once the above have been completed and the application submitted, it will be assessed to determine if a licence can be granted. Once the licence is granted, it will last for 5 years and applicants must keep their information up to date and comply with the conditions of the licence. Adhering to the Code of Practice will always be one of the conditions.

3. Agent Licensing

Similar to Landlords, Letting Agents must also obtain a licence. Strict requirements are in place on Agents applying for a licence, including:

  • Ensuring every member of staff has received approved training.
  • Complete the ‘fit and proper’ declaration.
  • Pay the appropriate license fee applicable under Rent Smart Wales Fee Policy 2015

4. Time Scale

Although the new legislation started on the 23 November 2015, Landlords and Letting Agents will have 12 months in which to comply with the new legislation. During these 12 months, there will be a focus on raising awareness of the new requirements and encouraging compliance. After this date, penalties and fines will come into effect.

5. Kelvin Francis Help Team

Kelvin Francis Rentals are well placed to comply with the new legislation and are happy to advise existing Landlords (Managed or Tenant Find Only Landlords) with any queries or concerns regarding the new legislation. Also, if you are a private Landlord and need assistance, please contact our Kelvin Francis Rental Team on 02920 766538 option 2 or email rentals@kelvinfrancis.com for advice, with no obligation.