Compulsory scheme for Welsh landlords launches – but does anybody know?

Cardiff Bay   Photo:   Giving Not

The licensing scheme, called Rent Smart Wales, requires all landlords to register and undergo training to be given a licence for self-managing, with letting agents also required to get a licence.

From today, landlords and agents have 12 months to comply with the legislation. The problem is that many are unaware that they need to do so: according to a survey by the National Landlords Association, two thirds (65 per cent) of tenants in Wales do not know about the new law.

The obligatory system replaces a previous Landlord Accreditation Wales scheme, which was voluntary.

Awareness is low among tenants too, although seven in 10 (69 per cent) say they will feel more confident renting from landlords and letting agents once they are registered and 56 per cent believing that the scheme will help them to find appropriate housing.

“The NLA will be working to help landlords and agents comply with this new law but we’ve always been concerned that a mandatory registration and licensing scheme will not provide the benefits the Welsh Assembly says it will,” says Richard Lambert, Chief Executive Officer of the NLA.

“As the licensing authority, Cardiff City Council must start working with other local authorities from the outset in order to fine and prosecute those who fail to comply within the year’s grace period. Without proper enforcement the scheme will do nothing to stop criminals in the sector but as yet we’ve seen no detail about how Cardiff City Council plans to do this.”

“Unless they’re quick off the mark, come next November, there’s a real danger that Rent Smart Wales will amount to little more than just a list of names and it will quickly lose the confidence of tenants who expect it to make a difference,” he adds.