Enforcement has begun
From 23 November 2016 all letting agents in Wales (and the wider UK who either let or manage rental properties in Wales) must be suitably trained and licensed to carry out letting or property management activities. Letting agents and landlords were given 12 months to comply, the deadline has now passed and enforcement has started.
The law means landlords in Wales – and those in the rest of the UK who own properties in Wales - need to register themselves and their properties with Rent Smart Wales, as well as being suitably trained and licensed to carry out letting or property management activities. If landlords do not wish to get trained, they need to arrange for a trained and licensed letting agent to manage their properties on their behalf.
In addition, all lettings agents in Wales need to be licensed. This means everyone involved in letting agency work needs to undertake Rent Smart Wales-approved training, and companies need to have Client Money Protection (CMP), Professional Indemnity Insurance, belong to a redress scheme and must provide all of their landlord and property details to Rent Smart Wales.
If letting agents and landlords are not registered or licensed they could face:
- Criminal Prosecution and Fines
- Fixed Term Penalty Notices (of either £150/£250)
- Rent Repayment Orders
- Rent Stopping Orders
- Inability to issue a valid Section 21 notice to regain possession
The NFoPP Awarding Body qualifications in Residential Lettings and Property Management (Level 2 Award, Level 3 Technical Award or Level 4 Certificate) are approved Rent Smart Wales accreditations, which letting agents can undertake in order to meet their legal requirements.
LICENSING FEE UPDATE
22 MARCH 2016
Since the introduction of Rent Smart Wales there have been continued concerns over the licensing fee. Under the Freedom of Information Act ARLA requested an explanation of how the Licensing Authority arrived at the initial £3,728 licensing fee. Read ARLA's request or read the response here.
RENT SMART WALES ANNOUNCE A NEW FEE STRUCTURE THAT WILL TAKE EFFECT FROM 25 APRIL 2016
David Cox, ARLA Managing Director comments on the revised Rent Smart Wales licensing fees: “When Rent Smart Wales first announced the £3728 fee for all agents, we branded this unfair as it didn’t take into account the size of the letting agent business, meaning both the smallest and largest agents would be charged the same amount in fees.
“Following our continued lobbying, today Rent Smart Wales has announced a new fee structure that will take effect from the 25th April 2016. The new fee is now graduated and will take into account the size of the business and importantly, offer a discount to ARLA members. This is great news and offers agents a much fairer fee structure which also demonstrates the benefit of professional membership.”
VIEW THE LICENSING FEE STRUCTURE
Any agents who had paid for and been granted their license before the change of structure will have their fee adjusted.
Have you met the training requirements?
Rent Smart Wales have approved NFoPP Awarding Body qualifications in Residential Lettings and Property Management (Level 2 Award, Level 3 Technical Award or Level 4 Certificate) in order to become accredited for licensing purposes.
However in order to complete the training requirement you will need to complete Part 1 of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014: An Overview, a free online top-up module available from Rent Smart Wales.
For those that don’t hold an NFoPP Awarding Body qualification there are a few possible routes to meet the scheme's requirements, depending on training you may have previously completed.
To help you understand these options we have put together a flow chart so you can find the best path for you.
DOWNLOAD THE FLOW CHART
RENT SMART WALES SEMINARS
Earlier this year we ran seminars in conjunction with representatives from the Welsh Government to explain the practical implications of this legislation. We would like to thank everyone who attended and if you have any questions to email Tim Douglas at email@example.com.