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65% of tenants in Wales are unaware of new laws to register and license landlords and letting agents in the country, according to new findings from the National Landlords Association (NLA).
Rent Smart Wales, which launched today, is the name of Wales’ new mandatory registration and licensing scheme for landlords and agents.
The scheme will require all landlords to register their properties and undergo training to obtain a licence if they wish to self-manage. Letting and management agents will also be required to become licensed.
Landlords and agents will have 12 months from 23 November in which to comply with the new legislation.
Despite low awareness levels among tenants, the findings show 69% say they will feel more confident renting from private landlords and letting agents once they are all registered, and 56% believe that the scheme will help them to find appropriate housing.
Richard Lambert, Chief Executive Officer, NLA, said: “The NLA will be working to help landlords and agents comply with this new law but we’ve always been concerned that a mandatory registration and licensing scheme will not provide the benefits the Welsh Assembly says it will.
As the licensing authority, Cardiff City Council must start working with other local authorities from the outset in order to fine and prosecute those who fail to comply within the year’s grace period.
Without proper enforcement the scheme will do nothing to stop criminals in the sector but as yet we’ve seen no detail about how Cardiff City Council plans to do this.
Unless they’re quick off the mark, come next November, there’s a real danger that Rent Smart Wales will amount to little more than just a list of names and it will quickly lose the confidence of tenants who expect it to make a difference.”
Rent Smart Wales will replace the existing voluntary Landlord Accreditation Wales scheme, which has been operated by Cardiff Council on behalf of all local authorities in Wales.
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