Rent Smart Wales
YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO LET YOUR PROPERTY OUT IF YOU ARE NOT REGISTERED/LICENSED.
Rent Smart Wales, (The Housing (Wales) Act 2014) was put on the table a couple of years ago, and is coming in to practice officially from Monday 23rd November 2015. Rent Smart Wales is a piece of legislation created for landlord and letting agents, whereby the landlord must obtain a licence in order to continue trading. If you own or manage a house in Wales, occupied by someone other than yourself in return for a rent, this new law will apply to you. This does not apply to estate agents and will not affect Keylet Sales.
What does it mean?
- All private landlords who have a rental property in Wales must register themselves and the addresses of their rental properties in Wales.
- Landlords who undertake defined letting or property management activities at a rental property in Wales must apply for a licence. If a landlord instructs an agent to do such work on their behalf, it is that agent who must become licensed.
- In order to get a licence a person must be adequately trained, and also declare themselves ‘fit and proper’.
- Licensing training will be offered through Rent Smart Wales or people can choose to attend Rent Smart Wales approved training courses delivered by other bodies.
- This scheme will commence Monday 23rd November 2015 and enforcements, such as penalties and fines, will be coming into effect after the first year of operation.
- Those agents in Wales that do not meet the criteria will be unable to obtain a license, which will help identify the reputable against the disreputable, which is Rent Smart Wales ultimate aim.
- As a result it hopes to put a mutual confidence in tenants, letting agencies and landlords across the board.
This legislation will apply to you if:
- You own a property in Wales you don’t live in
- You allow someone else to live in the property
- They pay rent to live in your property
- You have a tenancy agreement in place
To register as a landlord you need to:
- Go to the Rent Smart Wales website
- Create an account (A landlord must complete the registration themselves)
- Apply for a license (If you are a self-managed landlord)
- Pay a fee of £33.50
Once you are registered as a landlord you must:
- Re-register every 5 years
- Keep information up to date
- Add any newly purchased properties within 28 days
Following registration if you complete any of these activities you must obtain a license:
- Viewings of the property
- Referencing a tenant
- Preparing a tenancy agreement
- Preparing an inventory
- Collecting rent
- Being a point of contact for tenants
- Arranging repairs and maintenance
- Arranging secure access at the property
- Checking the contents and condition of the property
- Serving notice to terminate a tenancy
To obtain a license you need to:
- Submit a valid license application via your online account
- Provide proof of the appropriate landlord training
- Pay a fee
- Once application is assessed, your license will be issued
- You will receive a unique license number
- If you fail to comply with the conditions of the license that it can be taken off you.
For more information the website, https://www.rentsmart.gov.wales/en/ is the home of private landlord registration in Wales, they also have a mailing list and a twitter handle @RentSmartWales so they can be easily reached if we have any queries. Here is where the licence can be applied for by both agents and landlords. It will act as a database so that any tenants letting a property in Wales will be able to verify that their landlord is registered and whether the person letting and managing their home is licensed. The website will also provide useful guidance and information for landlords, agents and tenants.
At Keylet Sales & Lettings, we are are a fully Licensed Agent that satisfies the codes of practice and also go above and beyond many of the requirements asked.
The codes of practice are split in to four sections, before letting a property, setting up a tenancy, during a tenancy and ending a tenancy. We will be divulging in to these sections of the legislation to explain exactly what it is you pay for, when we manage your property.
Section 1 - Before letting a property
In order to appoint an agent, you must be sure that the agent you choose holds the Rent Smart Wales license. You must also be presented with information such as fees and expenses, the terms of business, the duration of the agreement to manage the property and the extent of the agent’s financial authority to authorise expenditure such as maintenance costs. (At Keylet this usually is set at £100 spend, but this can be adjusted to suit your needs).
We satisfy this by having our Keylet Terms of Business set out in a carefully thought-out document. Bearing in mind we have had 18 years’ experience to perfect this, we always bring a copy of our terms of business to any appointments/valuations and even leave you a copy to sign and return so you are completely self-assured you’ve made the right choice.
Rent Smart Wales legislation states that the marketing of the property is to be clear and concise, we fulfil this role by providing copies Energy Performance Certificate as well as our agency fees for tenant, which already available in office and downloadable from our website. If you already have tenants in your property and we are in the process of re-letting, we will always give tenants 24 hours, (usually via text message), although instant access is required if we are unable to get hold of you and there is an emergency.
Section 2 - Setting up a tenancy
We use an external referencing agency, to ensure that we are fair and considerable to all tenants. We always set up a receipt of payment upon an agreement of a let which clearly states, starting and end date of contract, including fees paid and a breakdown of the all other payments. In this drawn up document we also point tenants to the Welsh Governments publication ‘A Home in the Private Rented Sector – A Guide for Tenants’. We also have copies of our tenancy agreements available on our website, so that tenants, can take the time to read through every clause whilst they are in the process of referencing.
Our knowledge of Cardiff, Cardiff Bay and Cathays, also allows us to provide up to date and relevant information or signpost them to the correct advice on things such as utilities, waste collection, parking, TV licensing etc., but if it’s a new development, even though we try to clarify everything, renting apartments off-plan can leave information like this only available towards end of completion. We always complete a thorough inventory on every managed property, which details everything in the property including schedule of condition, with date stamped photos. This document is vital for end of tenancy inspections, so we can monitor the condition that the property is returned to.
For a fully managed property we deal with all bond deposit matters, and for let only packages we will do our best to ensure that you are fully educated about your responsibilities and where the deposit is to be held. Our obligations, mean that the deposit is held in a client account and registered with the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS), ensuring that the appropriate prescribed information and certificate is complete.
Section 3 - During the tenancy
We will organise informing Welsh Water of a new tenancy and provide them with all the information via the Landlord Tap. We will always endeavour to take up-to-date meter readings on changeover of tenancy as well as informing Cardiff Council. As well as informing tenants of the insurance products primarily a package which will cover your possessions against accidental damage. We have also produced tenant handbooks for both the Cathays branch and Cardiff Bay branch, to ensure they have all the relevant information required to fully appreciate their rented apartment.
In terms of rent collection, the scheme insists that rent must be collected through legal means and full address to be provided to tenants upon requesting payment. Due to a full and thorough referencing service, as well as setting up direct debits for rent we usually avoid any arrears situations, although of course, like anywhere sometimes these situations are unavoidable.
Another benefit of a managed property is that your tenant has multiple points of contact to call if there is a query with the apartment. Rent Smart Wales suggest that tenants should be provided with a main contact person and secondary contacts, we can also provide clarity on where to report any issues, as our website is easily accessible to all of our tenants and becomes a portal when maintenance reports need to be made. In terms of maintenance we’ve got it covered, our landlord V tenant maintenance page helps clarify what will be expected of yourself as well as the tenants. http://www.keylet.co.uk/landlord-vs-tenant-maintenance
In terms of the condition of the property, our in house maintenance department have the knowledge to provide you with realistic renovations, refurbishments as well as a competitive quote. If your property is fully managed we take the responsibility off you and organise any works that are required in order to maintain the condition of the property. We also carry out annual service checks on gas, unvented cylinders, electrical safety, portable appliances and legionnaires. We also are experienced with dealing with HMO licensed properties, for more information on this check out our designated HMO webpage here http://www.keylet.co.uk/landlord/hmo-licenses
Section 4 - Ending a tenancy
There are procedures which must be carried out in order to end a tenancy, and here at Keylet we already have a procedure in place. An exit inspection must take place (usually with the tenant present and within 24 hours) so both parties get an opportunity to inspect the condition of the property in comparison to the original inventory. Whilst fair wear and tear is taken into consideration this is also the opportunity to see whether the tenant has caused any further damages that you would need to claim from the deposit. We operate a full bond dispute procedure and have dedicated members of staff that will write to tenants with any deductions, where we help you come to an end result whereby you are not out of pocket.
If you are a Let Only or Managed landlord and would like more help and advice on the changes to the property letting industry in Wales, please dont hesitate to contact us.
- Housing Act 1988
- Housing Act 2004
- Housing (Wales) Act 2014
- Sex Discrimination Act 1975
- Race Relations Act 1976
- Disability Discrimination Act 1995
- Equalities Act 2010
- Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment (and Protection from Eviction Act 1977)
- The Consumer Protection Act 1987
- Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 and/or Landlord and Tenant Act 1987
- Localism Act 2011
- Consumer Rights Act 2015
- Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994
- Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 (SI 1998/2451)
- The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988(SI 1988/1324)
- General Product Safety Regulations 2005
- Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (SI 2005/1541)
- The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (SI 2008/1277)
- Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 (SI 2012/632)
- Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 (SI2012/3118)
- Water Industry (Undertakers Wholly or Mainly in Wales) (Information about Non-owner Occupiers) Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/3156)