Rent Smart Wales, the Welsh Government’s registration and licensing scheme launched November 2105 has announced letting and managing agents’ operating licence fees.
Landlords and Agents who let and manage property must get a licence by making a declaration that they are a “fit and proper” person to hold a licence and they must also have attended and passing approved training.
The City of Cardiff Council is designated the single licensing authority for the whole of Wales and has been involved in consultations and negotiations with bodies including UKALA, ARLA, RICS, NALS about the imposition of the fee – for small-scale agents a fee of £3,728 is the annual licence cost.
The fee scale is said to take into account the size of an agent’s business and affordability and from 25th April is to be graduated based on the size of businesses.
The licence cost for agents will range from £1,890 to £6,600 for five years, depending on the number of properties under management. Fees will be reduced if the agent is a member of a professional body and if they process their application online.
Rent Smart Wales claim the revised fees are solely to cover costs, not to make profits and landlords and agents have until 23 November 2016 to fully comply with the Rent Smart Wales scheme.
The RLA has questioned the veracity of the scheme and how Cardiff Council will cope with a moving target when volume fluctuates frequently as agencies take on more properties.
A discount of just 5% off the fee is to be applied to agents who are members of a professional organisation, something RLA Wales has been asking for but at 10% discount. Payment by direct debit instalment is to be available to those agents and landlords with less than 100 properties.
Landlords managing their own properties, or if they manage for their family, not employing staff for letting/management purposes, the normal £144 landlord licence fee applies. Agents managing less than 20 properties, not on a let only basis, are also subject to the landlord license fee only.
The full fee structure is available here
The Housing (Wales) Act 2014 introduced the Wales-wide licensing and registration scheme last year – the licensing and registration scheme is known as Rent Smart Wales.
Part 1 of the Act contains the framework for a new Wales-wide compulsory system of registration and licensing. All landlords will have to register regardless of their circumstances or whether an agent manages their properties or not. In addition to this, all agents and landlords who manage or undertake maintenance on their properties shall have to obtain a licence.
Part 2 of the Act contains provisions to deal with those who are homeless or are at risk of being homeless. Local authorities will now discharge their homelessness duty to the private rented sector, so that privately rented homes will be used to house tenants who would have traditionally resided in the social sector.
Rent Smart Wales – new licence fees – https://t.co/6FaujJC4My
— LandlordZONE (@LandlordZONE) April 4, 2016