As part of a rolling programme to introduce measures enacted in the Housing (Wales) Act 2014 the Welsh Government plan to introduce a Wales-wide landlord registration and licensing scheme autumn 2015.
On 8 July 2014, the National Assembly for Wales passed the Housing (Wales) Bill. The Bill received Royal Assent on 17 September 2014 and formally became the Housing (Wales) Act 2014.
All landlords letting properties in Wales will be required to register themselves or their companies and register details of each property. There will be heavy penalties for those who don’t comply, including, in some instances, unlimited fines and rent stopping orders.
As is the trend these days, much of the legislation will be provided for by secondary legislation made under the Act which has not yet been published or announced.
However, all landlords will be required to be registered under section 4 of the Act. At the time of writing, the only tenancies which make a landlord required to register are assured, assured shorthold and Rent Act 1977 tenancies.
Therefore, a home owner with only lodgers will not need to be registered, nor will resident landlords as defined in schedule 1 Housing Act 1988 – a converted building into flats where the landlord lives in one of the flats and lets out the others, for example.
Other exemptions apply as found in schedule 1 Housing Act 1988 where for instance the rent is greater than £100k per annum, holiday lets and such. 2
A landlord will need to let (or market to let) at least one dwelling in Wales on a domestic tenancy (an assured, assured shorthold or Rent Act tenancy etc.) to trigger the requirement to register. If the landlord lives outside of Wales and lets a property in Wales, the landlord must also register.
Under the Act all landlords with properties in Wales let in the private rented sector will be required to be registered, licensed and suitably trained as a “fit and proper” person to manage a rental property.
The licence will last for five years and all licence holders will be required to comply with the Code of Practice containing letting and management standards.
The licensing authority will also be able to include other conditions as it feels appropriate. Licences can be revoked if a condition is breached or if the landlord is no longer considered “fit and proper”.
Landlords must be licensed or must arrange for a licensed and professional letting agent to manage their properties.
Increasingly since devolution in Wales, property laws are breaking away from those in England, so the traditional laws that have applied the “England and Wales” will be separated.
Although the Act is now in force, most of its provisions will be phased in by commencement orders over the next two years.
The Housing (Wales) Act 2014 is a wide ranging piece of legislation in Wales covering the private rented sector and also: homelessness, social housing, council tax and gypsies and travellers.
The Welsh Government intends to issue a “model contract” for letting, replace the assured shorthold tenancy (AST) introduced in England and Wales in 1988, and “simplify and standardise the rental process”.
The key components of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014:
- introduction of a compulsory registration and licensing scheme for private rented sector landlords and letting and management agents
- reform of homelessness law, including placing a stronger duty on local authorities to prevent homelessness and allowing them to use suitable accommodation in the private sector
- placing a duty on local authorities to provide sites for Gypsies and Travellers where a need has been identified
- introduction of standards for local authorities on rents, service charges and quality of accommodation
- reform of the Housing Revenue Account Subsidy system
- giving local authorities the power to charge more than the standard rate of council tax on long-term empty properties and certain types of second homes
- assisting the provision of housing by Co-operative Housing Associations, and
- amendment of the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993.
The legislative affecting landlords and letting agents in Wales are far reaching. To keep yourself up to date on these ongoing changes go to:
Private rented housing – Wales
Registration and Licensing – Wales
©LandlordZONE® – legal content applies primarily to England and is not a definitive statement of the law, always seek professional advice.
All Landlords with Properties Located in Wales likely Required to Register in Licensing Scheme by Autumn 2015 – http://t.co/eipCjFDNhM
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