According to new findings from the National Landlords Association (NLA), nearly two thirds (65%) of tenants in Wales are unaware of new legislation to register and license landlords and letting agents in the country.
Monday saw the launch of Rent Smart Wales, the country’s new compulsory registration and licensing scheme for landlords and agents. It requires all landlords to register their properties and undertake training to obtain a licence if they wish to self-manage. In addition, letting and management agents will also be obliged to become licensed. The new laws must be complied with by 23 November 2016.
Although there is a low level of awareness among tenants regarding the Rent Smart Wales scheme, the NLA’s research found that 69% will feel more confident renting from private landlords and letting agents once they have all been registered. Furthermore, 56% believe 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,” Richard Lambert, Chief Executive Officer at the NLA, said.
“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.
He added: “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.”
Rent Smart Wales replaces the existing voluntary Landlord Accreditation Wales Scheme, which has been operated by Cardiff Council on behalf of all local authorities in Wales.