On the 8 July 2014, the first Housing Bill for Wales was passed by the Assembly for Wales, and could be implemented as soon as April 2015. This is only the first part of the Bill and an exact date for implementation has not yet been set. So, what does this mean for landlords and letting agents?
What is part 1 of the Bill all about?
When the Bill comes into force, all landlords in Wales will be legally obliged to acquire a license to carry out letting and management activities. Licensing will apply either to the landlord or agent (or both) depending on who conducts letting and management activities at a rental property in Wales.
In order to get a license, landlords will have to register themselves and the addresses of their rental properties with a designated licensing authority. This will likely be Cardiff Council, who also run Landlord Accreditation Wales on behalf of all 22 councils.
There is no bar to a landlord registering themselves and their property; however there are set criteria which an agent or landlord must achieve in order to be granted a licence to carry out letting and management activities at a rental property in Wales.
The intention is to improve standards of management, property conditions and to support an increased awareness of the respective rights and responsibilities of landlords and letting and management agents (and consequently tenants).
Until the legislation comes into force, there is nothing immediate for landlords to do. To get one step ahead of the game, Cardiff Council recommends registering with Landlord Accreditation Wales. By doing so, landlords can gain access to a range of training and information schemes. This will not only prepare you better for the incoming legislation, but could also mean that you are required to pay less of a fee when the time comes to register with a licensing authority.