New law affects all landlords, with a single property or a portfolio

Every property rented out to other people must comply or heavy penalties will be enforced

25 November 2015

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The new Rent Smart Scheme under the Welsh Government's Housing (Wales) Act 2014 came into force on 23 November 2015. All landlords in Wales who rent out property to other people - be it just one property or a large portfolio - are now required to register every property to comply with the new regulations and, if additional residential properties are let out in the future, these must also be registered with Rent Smart within 28 days. As a second stand to the legislation, Agents and self-managing landlords who let out or manage property also need to obtain a licence under the new scheme.

The Rent Smart Wales (RSW) scheme replaces the former voluntary Landlord Accreditation Wales (LAW) scheme and is administered by Cardiff Council, the designated single licencing authority in Wales. Landlords and agents have 12 months from 23 November in which to comply with the new legislation. From 23 November 2016, landlords and agents found to be ignoring their new obligations will have action taken against them by local authorities and the licensing agency. There will be heavy penalties for those who don’t comply.

The team at Cooke & Arkwright’s Land Agency department have all attended and passed the compulsory training courses to comply with the new licensing system and we are in the course of applying for a licence following opening of the scheme on 23rd November.  Rod Perons, Director of Land Agency comments: “We were previously registered with the Landlord Accreditation Wales scheme. As soon as we became aware of this change in the law the whole team attended the required training so that we could become licenced under the new Rent Smart Wales scheme. Our landlords will still need to register their properties under the new scheme, and we will help them to do that, but if their properties are managed by Cooke & Arkwright, they will not need to obtain licences as well. People need to be aware that the legislation also affects landlords who live outside of Wales, but let a residential property in Wales.”

The legislation is intended to improve the Code of Practice in the private rented sector and raise awareness by landlords, agents and tenants of their respective rights and responsibilities. There are some exemptions, such as home owners with lodgers and resident landlords who do not need to be registered, but you should seek professional advice to be sure.

Pictured: Chris Hyde, Rod Perons, Rhian Howells and Ed Meyer

Mansford has expanded its investment portfolio over the last few years. Over this time Andrew West has provided us with a full rating valuation service which has involved giving a view on liabilities prior to acquisitions, as well as conducting negotiations with Valuation Officers on our UK estate. The portfolio includes a wide range of properties from shops, offices and pubs to major leisure schemes. He has been particularly successful in mitigating our liabilities to empty property rate, which has been an issue on acquisition prior to implementing our development and letting strategy. I have no hesitation in recommending Andrew's expertise in rating valuation for all property types. The profile of property within his portfolio and the successes achieved are testament to his position as an extremely accomplished rating practitioner.

Leopold Hall, Partner, Mansford LLP