Landlords and letting agents face mandatory licensing and regulation under a new laws proposed by the Wales Assembly Government.
Lawmakers want to raise standards for tenants by controlling property standards and management.
In a draft bill published today, the government wants:
- Private landlords and letting agents to register with local councils in every area they own or manage a buy to let or house in multiple occupation (HMO)
- Councils will take on licensing enforcement
- The government will publish an online database of private landlords and letting agents
The national register is similar to a much-criticised scheme already running in Scotland that has seen few landlords punished for failing to properly manage properties, but which has cost around £16 million to establish and maintain.
The aim is to improve standards of private rented homes and to give tenants and councils more information about landlords and letting agents.
“Private rented housing is playing an increasingly important role in the housing market and a strong sector is essential for an effective housing market,” said a government spokesman.
“The growing sector supports economic mobility, providing flexibility and choice for those who choose not to own their own home as well as providing housing to many vulnerable people. The current economic situation has increased the importance of the sector in providing homes for younger people and in contributing to housing supply.”
Landlord lobbyists the Residential Landlords Association has spoken out against the bill.
“Such schemes do not necessarily catch the landlords they are targeting and remains a system of good landlords paying the price for their criminal counterparts. Such mandatory registration schemes could be incredibly costly for the government to implement with success, as with many licensing schemes,” said RLA Wales Director, Douglas Haig.
“Mandatory registration of private landlords by local authority is a major part of the bill, but is not definitely going to be implemented as it is likely debate around changing aspects of the bill is expected. The proposals are too focussed on the ‘stick’ aspect of incentive, and fail to adequately target criminal landlords.”