The Welsh Government have proposed licensing for all private landlords and letting agents, in an attempt to clampdown on the sector.
The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has disapproved the plans, which would be closely monitored by the rest of the UK, where many are pushing to regulate letting agents at least.
Anyone who rents out a residential property in Wales would need a license, said a white paper.
All landlords would be required to sign a register and pass a fit and proper person test. Letting agents would also be obligated to do the same.
The white paper explains: “Accreditation will secure full registration status, which is effectively a license to operate as a private landlord in Wales.”1
Legislation would come in the form of a new Housing Act, and concern all landlords and letting agents within Wales, regardless of the amount of properties they own or manage.
Wales has seen a booming private rental sector, with the number of properties doubling in the last ten years, to 182,000 houses, or one in seven homes in Wales.1
The white paper claimed there are “extremes”1 of good and bad practise in the private rental sector.
It also said that some tenants deal with “poor conditions, insecurity, and sometimes, threats of eviction”1 and complains of the “questionable practices of some landlords and letting and management agents”1, including excessive fees.
When accredited, landlords and letting agents would be required to practise to a set of minimum standards.
The white paper also says: “Failure to do so could result in penalties or other sanctions, proportionate to the failings in compliance. Codes of practice will be developed for landlords and agents.”1
A spokesperson for the RLA says that they welcome the recognition of the private rental sector in the white paper, but continues: “The RLA does, however, remain cautious of the need for further regulation whilst existing measures are not being properly enforced to target the minority of landlords who bring the sector into disrepute.”
“Extra regulation will inevitably lead to costs being passed on to tenants in higher rents.
“We also look forward to working with ministers, local authorities, and others to ensure tenants are more aware of the measures which are already there to protect them.”1