Unlicensed landlords with properties in Wales are being urged to register ‘to avoid legal action’, regardless of where they are based in the UK, because they could be unwittingly breaking the law.
Many private landlords could face fines and possibly even prosecution for failing to sign up to the new registration and licensing system in Wales. In addition, landlords may not be able to secure possession of their property using a section 21 notice, if they are operating outside the law themselves.
Almost six months have passed since the Welsh government’s Rent Smart Wales scheme became law, as part of the Housing Act (Wales) 2014, and yet it is estimated that thousands of private landlords with homes in Wales have still not signed up to the scheme, which could mean that they are letting out properties illegally.
A searchable register is now available on the Rent Smart Wales website allowing tenants and the wider public to check whether landlords and agents are breaking the law.
The process for complying is straightforward and can be completed online. Once completed, a registration and licence lasts for a period of five years.
Chris Northall, is a private landlord living in Ellesmere, Shropshire, who owns two rental properties in Wales, recently went through the process.
He said: “Having first heard about Rent Smart Wales on the radio, this prompted me to find out more information about the scheme and whether it was relevant to me, as I’m based over the border in England.
“Having discovered that I needed to register, I found the process very easy and it has given me peace of mind that I’m not breaking the law.”
Bethan Jones, operational manager of Rent Smart Wales, commented: “I would urge any landlords or agents with properties in Wales and who have not yet registered or become licensed, to contact us immediately to avoid legal action. We are still keen to assist those who willingly want to comply.
“We’ve worked closely with industry experts to develop the Rent Smart Wales scheme, which we firmly believe will help make the private rental sector in Wales a better place for tenants, landlords and agents.”