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Claire Davies Principal Officer Housing Strategy & Standards
What is Rent Smart Wales? • • • Part 1 Housing (Wales) Act 2014 National Registration and Licensing Scheme of Landlords and Agents Launched 23 rd November 2015
Background in Wales • • • 2011 Census approx 14% (185, 000) properties in PRS Believed majority of landlords manage 1 property. Important Housing Option Poorest standards of management and conditions National Accreditation Scheme, run from Cardiff Council since 2008 trained around 3, 000 landlords
Legislative Requirements • • • Housing (Wales) Act 2014 Majority of Part 1 came into force 23 rd Nov 2015 Enforcement to commence from 23 rd Nov 2016
Housing (Wales) Act Part 1 • Act introduced a legal requirement for all landlords to register themselves and their rental addresses • Landlords and agents who act on their behalf, who let and/or manage rental properties must become licensed • Licensing based on training (no property inspection) • Applicable to Assured, Assured Shorthold and Regulated tenancies within Wales
Housing (Wales) Act Part 1 - Cont’d • Exempts Residential Social Landlords from registration; however if RSL does letting and management work on behalf of a PRS landlord they must be licensed • Most other exemptions come about from the fact that certain people cannot grant ASTs (e. g. university owned accommodation, owner occupiers with lodgers, etc. )
Overview of Registration • Registration: • Landlord Must: – – Provide correspondence info Give address of all rental property Pay a fee Identify who does letting and management at each property
Overview of Registration - Cont’d. • Online process (including fee payment) • Register is not public but tenants can verify landlords • Once Registered • Obligation to keep information on register up to date • Every 5 years a fee for continued registration
Why Registration? • Identified rented properties • Produces statistics to inform policy • Assists Local Authorities with information dissemination • Collects contact details
Overview of Licensing • Persons who ‘let’ or ‘manage’ rental property must apply for a licence. • Applicant must : – Be fit and proper – Undertake approved training – Pay a fee
Overview of Licensing - Cont’d. • ‘Letting’ and ‘Managing’ defined in the Act • Applicant could be landlord, commercial letting & management agent, family member • All staff of applicant, doing letting and management work, must be trained
Once Licensed: • Lasts 5 years • Licensee must comply with Licensing Authority imposed conditions. • This will include adhering to WG Code of Practice. • Continue to be fit and proper. • Otherwise licence can be revoked. • Renewal process, including additional fee.
Why Licence? • • People dealing with rentals are fit and proper Gives knowledge to those persons who need it Unsuitable persons will not be able to manage homes Makes people letting and managing properties accountable, including agents
Activities a Landlord Must have a Licence for If a landlord undertakes any of the following, they must obtain a licence. Landlord Letting Activities: • Arranging or conducting viewings with prospective tenants; • Gathering evidence for the purpose of establishing the suitability of prospective tenants (for example by confirming character references, undertaking credit checks or interviewing a prospective tenant); • Preparing, or arranging the preparation, of a tenancy agreement; • Preparing, or arranging the preparation, of an inventory for the dwelling or schedule of condition for the dwelling.
Activities a Landlord Must have a Licence for - Cont’d. Landlord Property Management Activities: • Collecting rent; • Being the principal point of contact for the tenant in relation to matters arising under the tenancy; • Making arrangements with a person to carry out repairs or maintenance; • Making arrangements with a tenant or occupier of the dwelling to secure access to the dwelling for any purpose; • Checking the contents or condition of the dwelling, or arranging for them to be checked as part of a current tenancy or for one which has ended; • Serving notice to terminate a tenancy.
Activities an agent must have a licence for Agent Letting Work: One of these can be done by a person who is not the landlord without requiring an agent licence, as long as they do nothing under the ‘Agent Property Management Work’ section. • • Publishing advertisements or disseminating information; Arranging and conducting viewings with prospective tenants; Preparing, or arranging the preparation of, the tenancy agreement; Preparing, or arranging the preparation of, any inventory or schedule of condition.
Activities an agent must have a licence for - Cont’d. Agent Property Management Work: • Collecting rent It is acceptable to do one of the following without requiring a licence, as long as you do not collect rent, or do anything under the ‘Agent Letting Work’ section. • Being the principal point of contact for the tenant in relation to matters arising under the tenancy; • Making arrangements with a person to carry out repairs or maintenance; • Making arrangements with a tenant or occupier of the dwelling to secure access to the dwelling for any purpose; • Checking the contents or condition of the dwelling, or arranging for them to be checked as part of a current tenancy or for one that has ended; • Serving notice to terminate a tenancy.
Code of Practice
Code of Practice – Cont’d • Made on 3 rd November. • Written by Welsh Government with input from tenant, landlord and agent groups and consulted on by: • Contains legal requirements (must comply with) and best practice (should comply with). • Residential Landlord Association (RLA) • National Landlord Association (NLA) • Association of Residential Lettings Agents (ARLA) • Shelter Cymru • Citizens Advice
Training • • People who need to be trained are termed in the law as ‘connected persons’ Section 2 of the Regulation of Private Rented Housing (Training Requirements)(Wales) Regulations 2015 define ‘connected persons’. ‘doing things under a contract of service or apprenticeship with an applicant for a licence’ This means all staff who meet the criteria need to be trained
Marketing • WG leading the communications work • Launched by the Minister Leslie Griffiths AM • National campaign to be implemented • Social media based, disseminating information
Enforcement • Marketing of requirements should encourage most people to comply without intervention (whole sector buy-in) • Lead in time before enforcement can occur; powers will be enacted 23 rd Nov 2016 • Enforcement by local authority (or licensing authority)
Enforcement – Cont’d. Suite of enforcement tools: – Prosecutions – Fixed Penalty Notices – Rent Stopping Orders – Rent Repayment Orders – Restriction on terminating tenancies (no s. 21)
Fees Application Type Landlord Registration - On Line Landlord Registration - Paper Landlord Licensing- On Line Landlord Licensing- Paper Agent licensing- On Line Agent licensing- Paper New application £ 33. 50 £ 80. 50 £ 144. 00 £ 186. 00 £ 3, 728. 00 £ 4, 368. 00 Renewal Period 5 years 5 years However the agent fees for licensing are currently under review.
Current Statistics • Completed user accounts: 4, 822 • Landlords registered: 3, 014 • Course bookings: 573
Recap ü Not all landlords must have a licence; if agent does all letting and property management work then only agent needs to be licensed. ü BUT some properties will have a licensed landlord and agent (split of roles, e. g. let only agent then landlord does management) ü AND all landlords will still have to register (can be ‘lead’ landlord) ü One licence covers the agent/landlord for any property in Wales; it is the landlord that registers each individual address and states the licensee(s) ü No Scots Disclosure/DBS check requirement with licence application ü If property has an HMO licence, landlord still needs to register and have a licensed person in place to let and manage it under new Act ü Enforcement to commence in November 2016.
Where can I find more info? Tel number: 03000133344 Visit www. rentsmart. gov. wales and sign up to updates Follow twitter: @rentsmartwales Operational Manager – Bethan Jones