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Rent Smart Wales continues to prosecute for non-compliance

Monday 17 July 2017

A Cardiff landlord who ignored the Rent Smart Wales scheme faces a bill of more than £3,500 for non-compliance.

The announcement from Rent Smart Wales comes shortly after another prosecution against Newport landlord Robert Ivor Grovell, which we reported on back in June.

Landlord Shelley Bailey of Eastwood Park, Wotton-Under-Edge, Gloucestershire was prosecuted under the Housing (Wales) Act 2014 for breaking the law requiring all private landlords with properties in Wales to register and all self-managing landlords and agents to become trained and licensed.

Acting on reports about her failure to comply, Rent Smart Wales officers attempted to contact Ms Bailey to inform her of the requirement to register herself and her seven Cardiff properties and, as a self-managing landlord to complete training and become licensed.

Ms Bailey failed to take any steps to comply and was issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice of £150 in April but her failure to pay led to the prosecution by Cardiff Council, who operate the scheme on behalf of Welsh Government.

She was found guilty of 21 offences in her absence at Cardiff Magistrates Court, fined £3,580 and ordered to pay £457 costs.

Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, Cllr Lynda Thorne, said: "Rent Smart Wales was established to drive up standards in the private rented sector, protecting tenants and ensuring landlords and agents are fit and proper and aware of their rights and responsibilities.

"Landlords and agents had a full year to comply before the November 2016 deadline when enforcement powers became active but despite this, some landlords believe they can continue to flout the law and side-step complying.

"This case shows that we are actively seeking out those who fail to comply and are working with Local Authorities across Wales and others to identify cases of non-compliance. We're keen to hear from tenants and neighbours who have concerns about unregistered landlords and properties.

"As we see with this prosecution, the sanctions for failing to comply with Rent Smart Wales are serious and the fine imposed reflects the complete disregard for the scheme shown by the landlord. It should be a stark warning to all those who are yet to comply and I encourage any unregistered or unlicensed landlords or agents not to delay. Come forward and comply without delay."

Although prosecutions to date have been against landlords, agents acting on behalf of landlords can also be prosecuted. 

However, the good news is that it's easy for agents to comply. The process is straightforward and can be completed online, so if you haven't already done so, we strongly advise that you do before you too face prosecution. Once completed, a registration and licence lasts for a period of five years.

We also have a members-only ARLA Propertymark fact sheet about Rent Smart Wales which gives a great summary of the scheme and how it applies to you.  

What sanctions are available to RSW?

Sanctions that RSW have at their disposal include prosecution, fixed penalty notices rent stopping and rent repayment orders. In addition, landlords may not be able to secure possession of their property using a section 21 notice, if they are operating outside the law themselves.