Lettings legal update
The Housing (Wales) Act 2014 was passed by the National Assembly for Wales in July 2014 and received Royal Assent on 17 September 2014. Part 1 of the Act will introduce a mandatory registration scheme for all private landlords in Wales and there will also be a requirement for private landlords and lettings agents to be licensed if they let or manage properties. This legislation is scheduled to be implemented towards the latter part of this year.
Many of our landlords have been in touch with us to ask what the main elements of this new legislation are, and how it will work in practice so we hope that this article will be helpful as a starting point.
- Every private landlord in Wales will be required to register all of their rental properties. This is not intended to be a lengthy process and the registration can be completed online. Prospective tenants will be able to access the register to check if a particular property has been registered.
- All letting agents in Wales will have to be licensed. The granting of a licence will necessitate certain criteria being fulfilled such as the letting agency staff all being required to be trained to certain minimum standards of competence, by having attended an approved training course.
- Agents and landlords will all be required to adhere to a new Code of Practice. The new Code is split into two parts – Statutory Requirements and Best Practice. The Statutory Requirements are those provisions which are currently law and licence holders will need to comply to retain their licence. The Best Practice suggests guidelines which agents and landlords should aspire to achieve, but failure to meet the Best Practice aspects will not necessarily lead to a licence status being adversely affected.
- If you are a landlord that uses an agent to manage your properties, you will not require a licence but you will need to register all of your rental properties and you must only engage the services of a licensed agent.
- If you are a landlord that manages your own properties – so in other words, you use an agent to find you a tenant, but thereafter you manage the property yourself, you will be required to apply for a licence, as well as registering all your rental properties. You will also need to attend the approved training course. Registration and licences will last for a period of 5 years.
- Enforcement will involve a variety of penalties including fines and fixed penalty notices, rent stopping orders, and rent repayment orders, restrictions on serving section 21 notices and prosecution.
Moginie James has a dedicated team of staff who will register all of your properties on your behalf to help you with a smooth transition into the licencing and registration process – unless when the Act is finally implemented, it contains a provision that prevents this, although we are not currently aware of the existence of any such clause.
At all times, we remain committed to providing all of our new and existing customers with an exceptional level of customer service. Please visit our website www.moginiejames.co.uk and sign up to our regular newsletter to ensure that you don’t miss out on our regular updates!
I am always available if anybody would like to email me directly on firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 02920 344 434, if you have any concerns or any further queries in relation about the new legislation being introduced, or about any aspect of letting, whether you are a landlord or tenant…
Martine Harris FARLA
Head of Lettings