Wales will become the first country in the UK where landlords are required to undertake training to ensure they are aware of their rights and responsibilities.
Housing Minister Lesley Griffiths today unveiled Rent Smart Wales, the brand for the new landlord and agent registration and licensing scheme which comes into effect this autumn. The Housing (Wales) Act 2014 aims to improve letting and management standards for people who rent private accommodation across Wales.
The legislation states:
- All private landlords will be required to register with Rent Smart Wales. They will also have to register their properties.
- If a landlord wants to manage the property themselves, they must demonstrate they are ‘fit and proper’ to hold a licence, and undertake training.
- Alternatively, they will be able to appoint a licensed agent to manage the property on their behalf.
“We know approximately 184,000 homes in Wales – around one in seven – are now privately rented. With so many people renting, a strong sector with good working practices is absolutely essential.
“The new legislation we are introducing will not only improve the situation for tenants – informing them of their rights and responsibilities – it will also help good landlords by improving the sector’s reputation.
“When Rent Smart Wales is introduced this autumn, it will provide a simple way for landlords to register and for them and their agents to become licensed. Ahead of the changes, I encourage landlords and agents to subscribe to register their interest and to receive useful news and updates.”
Cardiff Council, who currently operate the existing voluntary ‘Landlord Accreditation Wales’ scheme, will be the licensing authority for the new statutory scheme on behalf of all local authorities.
Cllr Bob Derbyshire, Cardiff Council Cabinet Member for Environment, said:
“Cardiff Council has been privileged to run the Landlord Accreditation Scheme on behalf of the 22 Welsh authorities for the last 8 years. The scheme demonstrates the value of training and the development of positive relationships with landlords based on a better understanding of responsibilities and the potential risks of getting things wrong.
“Rent Smart Wales is the next step, building on this early success, and provides an exciting opportunity for Wales to lead the way in professionalising the private rented sector through focusing on supporting landlords to get things right first time. Centralised administration at Cardiff Council will deliver a consistent service across Wales and also provide the opportunity to establish a simple application process and reduce costs for customers.”