Concern is growing that thousands of buy-to-let landlords in Wales could face fines or even a jail sentence for failing to register for a new licensing scheme.
Last week (23rd November), the Welsh Government’s Rent Smart Wales scheme became law. However, it is estimated that over 13,000 private landlords in the country are yet to register with the scheme, meaning they could be letting out properties illegally.
Rent Smart Wales
The new registration and licensing scheme in Wales is a major change for the private rental sector. It requires all landlords and letting agents to register their properties and undertake training to gain a licence, should they intend on self-managing their investment.
Landlords and letting agents in the principality were given until last week to comply with the legislation, before it became an offence to either let or manage a property without the sufficient licence.
By the deadline, 89,130 online accounts had been created, with 64,248 licence registrations submitted. Another 13,208 applications but not finished.
Landlords in Wales facing fines for illegal lets
Carl Sergeant, communities secretary and minister responsible for overseeing Rent Smart Wales, acknowledged the registration system had seen delays. However, Sergeant said those who have started the compliance process would not face action-but said, ‘this must not be seen as an excuse to ignore the law.’
In addition, he noted: ‘My message to private landlords is clear. You must take action to comply with the requirements of the law.’
Registering as a landlord costs £33.50 if carried out online. On paper, this is £80.50, regardless of the number of properties an investor has in their portfolio.
Further information on Rent Smart Wales can be found on the Government website.