If you are letting in Wales, are you following Rent Smart Wales legislation?
What is Rent Smart Wales?
According to the Housing (Wales) Act 2014, landlords who rent out properties in Wales are legally obligated to register themselves as well as their properties. In addition, self-managing landlords and agents must obtain a licence to operate following the completion of a relevant training course; and must also pass a ‘fit and proper’ assessment. Rent Smart Wales aims to uphold a consistently high standard throughout the property industry in Wales.
Landlords who have a rental property that is let on an assured, assured shorthold or regulated tenancy must complete a registration with Rent Smart Wales.
How the property is owned will determine who is required to register. The legislation states that the landlord required to register is the person who is entitled to possession of the property, more often than not this is the owner. This however can be different if the property is registered in joint ownership or through a company. More information on registration, including who is required to register, can be found on the Rent Smart Wales website.
Landlords are able to register online through the Rent Smart Wales website by creating an account and following the on screen process. A landlord must complete this themselves and should not request that their agent or another individual fills this out on their behalf.
Once registered, landlord registration lasts for five years, after which landlords are required to re-register. Landlords should be mindful that the law states that certain changes to information must be declared. Rent Smart Wales state that this includes;
- Any change in name; correspondence address; contact telephone number; e-mail address or other contact information provided as part of the registration
- Any change (either that someone has started or ceased) to undertake letting or 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 (i.e. if they sell a registered property)
- 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 within which to do this.
Self-managing landlords should be aware that they must also apply for a landlord licence as well as registering.
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Landlords that are involved with letting and management tasks for their rental properties in Wales, otherwise known as a ‘self-managing’ landlords, are also required by law to apply for a licence. Landlords who are not involved with setting up their tenancies and do not manage their rental properties are not required to gain a licence, however they are required to use a local licensed agent. In addition to this, they must register as a landlord and declare the licensed agent that they use on the registration.
Landlords are also required to undergo training with a Rent Smart Wales training course or complete training with an approved training provider. Training is a vital part of the licensing process for landlords and agents. Rent Smart Wales report that 96 per cent of attendees felt that the training helped to make them a better landlord.
There is different training available for landlords and letting agents. Find out more information on landlord training here.
Once a landlord has submitted their licence request it will be processed by Rent Smart Wales to assess if the licence can be granted. During this process a ‘fit and proper’ assessment will also be carried out on the landlord in question to ensure that they have no relevant convictions and that their landlord training was sufficient. Like landlord registration a landlord licence lasts for five years.
Rent Smart Wales have put together a handy checklist for landlords to follow to ensure that they are compliant. You can view the landlord checklist here.
What if I don’t live in Wales but let out my property there?
Landlords are reminded that despite the name, Rent Smart Wales applies to all landlords with a property in Wales, even if they don’t live there themselves.