Rent Smart Wales: Fears landlords letting properties illegally
More than 13,000 private landlords in Wales may be letting properties illegally after the Welsh Government's Rent Smart Wales scheme became law.
The Rent Smart Wales (RSW) rules came into force last week requiring all residential landlords to be trained about their legal obligations.
By the 23 November deadline, 89,130 online accounts had been created with 64,248 licence registrations submitted.
A further 13,208 applications have been started - but not completed.
The Welsh Government wants RSW to help tackle bad landlords who give the private rented sector a bad name.
Communities Secretary Carl Sergeant, the minister responsible for overseeing the scheme, had admitted RSW's system to register landlords had faced delays.
RSW estimated Wales has 208,000 private rented properties and 133,000 - nearly 65% - had registered by the deadline.
However, not all properties are covered by the new rules. Student housing, commercial and farming lets are all exempt.
RENT SMART FACT FILE:
- Registering as a landlord is £33.50 if completed online and £80.50 on paper. That is irrespective of the number of properties they have
- Another alternative for people who own and rent out a few properties is to pay for a letting agent. Agencies pay fees ranging up to £6,000 depending on the numbers of properties they manage
- The money raised pays for running the scheme and for making sure landlords comply with the regulations. Those who do not comply can be issued with a fixed penalty or fined
- The licences last for five years
- Cardiff council has been chosen to administer the system for the whole of Wales
- You can check online whether any house or flat is on the register as a rented property and find out who the landlord is.
But those who should have registered could now face a possible fine.
"The fact that Rent Smart Wales has already registered 126,154 properties means they have captured well over half the stock," said an RSW official.
"Our team of enforcement officers will be working in partnership with local authorities across Wales and priority for action will be those landlords/agents who have failed to start the process of complying with the legislation.
"Enforcement powers will now be used in a sensible and proportionate manner."