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Click here for up to date information about the scheme.
All private landlords of ‘domestic tenancies’ in Wales must be registered with Rent Smart Wales. This means that if you have an assured shorthold tenancy, an assured tenancy or a regulated tenancy your landlord should be registered. If he/she is not registered then they will be committing an offence and can face penalties.
In order to register, a landlord must provide accurate and up-to-date information about themselves and all of their properties that they operate in Wales. They will also have to pay a fee.
Any person who lets or manages a ‘domestic tenancy’ in Wales must have a licence from the Rent Smart Wales scheme. This includes landlords who self-manage their properties and letting agents who may have been appointed by the landlord.
This means that if you have an assured shorthold tenancy, an assured tenancy or a regulated tenancy your landlord or their letting agent should have a licence. If they do not have a licence they might be committing an offence and could face penalties.
The application for a licence can be made online at the Rent Smart Wales website or by requesting a paper application by ringing 03000133344.
To submit a valid licence application, the landlord or agent must:
The licence will last for 5 years. In order to keep their licence, the landlord or agent must keep to the requirements of a Code of Practice. If you are worried about the conduct of your landlord or agent who is licensed you can report it to Rent Smart Wales who will investigate. If your landlord or agent is not following the Code of Practice, they run the risk of losing their licence or not being able to have their licence renewed when it expires. Complaints can be made anonymously if you prefer.
The ‘fit and proper person’ test means that private landlords and agents have to meet a certain standard before they can legally rent out property. The test is designed to weed any bad landlords or agents out of the system and to improve the standards in the private rented sector generally. This should give you, as a tenant, extra protection from bad landlords.
When Rent Smart Wales receives an application for a licence from a landlord or agent, it will have to decide whether or not they are a ‘fit and proper person’ to let out property.
In deciding whether an applicant is ‘fit and proper’ Rent Smart Wales can consider information showing that the applicant, or anyone associated with them, has done any of the following:
A criminal conviction doesn’t necessarily mean that an applicant won’t pass the test. The council will have to look at every case individually and decide whether the information received will affect the person’s ability to be a good landlord or agent. It can also consider anything else that is relevant.
Before they can be given a licence your landlord or agent must show evidence that they have been on relevant training, covering the main rights and responsibilities of renting and managing properties in Wales.
If you’re looking for a place to rent, you should check that the landlord is registered and complied with the licensing rules before you agree to move in or sign a tenancy agreement. You can do this by checking the public register online or you can phone 03000 133344. You will need either the landlord or agents name and the address of the property.
If your landlord and/or agent is licensed but you are having concerns about their conduct you can report this to Rent Smart Wales who will investigate the problem.
If your landlord is not registered, or has not yet obtained a licence or appointed an agent who is licensed, make sure you let them know that they should do so – it’s possible that they may not have realised yet.
Action by Rent Smart Wales or your council
Landlords or agents that are not registered or complied with the licensing rules can be prosecuted. They may also face one of the following penalties:
It is up to your local council or Rent Smart Wales to decide what action to take if your landlord or agent does not register or get the right licence. Contact your council’s public protection department or Rent Smart Wales directly if you are concerned.
Action by the tenant
Where a landlord has been successfully prosecuted, or a RRO has already been made in respect of housing benefit or universal credit, tenants can apply to the Residential Property Tribunal themselves for an RRO so that they can have some of their rent repaid. If you want to do this contact the Residential Property Tribunal Wales. Any application by a tenant must be made within 12 months of any conviction or RRO and costs £155 (unless you are on certain income related benefits). The application form for a tenant to apply is here.
Restriction on eviction
If you have an assured shorthold tenancy and your landlord :
any section 21 notice they may have given you to end your tenancy cannot be relied on to evict you. If you receive a notice and are in this situation, see our page on eviction of assured shorthold tenants and get advice as soon as possible.
We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 08000 495 495.