Landlords in North Wales to undergo training and be licensed under new rules
Changes being introduced later this year will mean landlords will have to allow an agency to manage their property if they can't gain a licence
Landlords in North Wales will have prove they are “fit and proper” before they can manage a property or hand over the keys to someone else.
Every private landlord will need to undertake training and be licensed under new rules coming into effect this autumn.
And if they can’t demonstrate they are “fit and proper” to hold a licence, landlords will have to appoint an agent to manage the property on their behalf. Shelter Cymru said they hoped the changes would “freeze out” some of the worst rogue landlords and give tenants more confidence in the rental sector.
Housing Minister Lesley Griffiths claimed the new practice was “absolutely essential” as it would give protection to the 184,000 people currently renting across Wales.
Ms Griffiths said: “The new legislation we are introducing will not only improve the situation for tenants – informing them of their rights and responsibilities – it will also help good landlords by improving the sector’s reputation.”
But Tory housing spokesperson Mark Isherwood said the scheme was flawed as it may deter people who want to bring a home back into use by renting it out.
The North Wales AM said: “Simply waving a stick won’t work and I fear good landlords will continue to be penalised.”
A UK first
Part of the Housing (Wales) Act changes will make Wales the first country in the UK where landlords and agents have to undertake training to ensure they are aware of their rights and responsibilities.
It will mean private landlords and their properties will have to be registered with Rent Smart Wales, with local councils responsible for enforcement action.
The registration scheme for all 22 local authorities will be run by Cardiff Council and replace the current voluntary Landlord Accreditation Scheme.
Gwynedd councillor Dyfed Edwards of the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) welcomed the news saying: “While local government already works hard to develop positive relationships with local landlords, this new scheme offers a welcome addition to the enforcement options already in place, and it will help local councils to work more closely with landlords to ensure high standards are being met for private rental tenants in Wales
But Douglas Haig, vice-chairman for the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) in Wales warned it would detract local authorities’ attention away from tackling the minority of landlords who are criminals and stretch resources further.
A spokesman for Shelter Cymru said: “Hopefully it will go some way to freeze out the worst rogue landlords, many of whom come to our services for advice.”
Another layer of bureaucracy?
The news was welcomed by North Wales Lib Dem AM Aled Roberts as an important step but he warned it could just be another “layer of bureaucracy”.
Mr Roberts said: “The Welsh Government now needs to use this scheme to drive up standards within the sector.
“If in five years’ time we’re still seeing massive problems with cleanliness and anti-social behaviour in the same areas, then this will have been nothing but yet another layer of bureaucracy.”