From today, every landlord in Wales must register their name, date of birth, correspondence details and the address of each of their rental properties (in Wales) with the Welsh Government through their Rent Smart scheme. Landlords and agents must note that this registration process can only be completed by the landlord themselves, an agent can not do it for them.
In addition to the above, any landlord carrying out 'letting or management activities' must also obtain a licence under section 6 and 7 of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014. Each licence lasts for 5 years. The following activities constitute letting or management 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.
- 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.
Landlords have 12 months to register and obtain a licence and it seems likely that the process will become easier in the coming months so I would not necessarily advise an immediate application. Nonetheless, landlords with rental properties in Wales are advised to visit https://www.rentsmart.gov.wales for further information on how to complete the process.
A licensing scheme for landlords is being launched to "improve the image" of the private rented sector. Landlords have 12 months to register on Rent Smart Wales and decide whether to apply for a licence or hand over management of their properties. Communities Minister Lesley Griffiths said it would help tackle bad landlords who give the sector a bad name. But the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) said it would "do little" to address criminal landlords.