News Are you Rent Smart?

Published by Nick on 17th November, 2016

As the deadline fast approaches it seems the confusion grows. We are taking lots of calls of late about the process and the variety of obligations we all have under the new Rent Smart Wales legislation. We thought this might be a good idea to explain before the 23rd November when the property industry in Wales undergoes it's biggest upheaval ever.

Landlords - What you need to know

There are some simple but essential steps you need to follow.

1. All individuals that own a rental property must register their stock with Rent Smart Wales to do this they must go to http://www.rentsmart.gov.wales. To register you have two options online (costing £33.50) or paper, but the paper option is more expensive at £80.50. You will need to provide your personal details and list the individual properties that you own. Once completed you will be given a unique number and account with Rent Smart Wales.

For joint landlords the lead landlord will register naming the other joint owners with their details. Both or all of the owners do not need to register it’s just the lead landlord that does this.

What you do next depends on your particular situation if you do not do anything with your properties at all then you have done everything you need to do to comply with these new laws but if you do any more than pass his over to your agent (you must check that your letting agent is a licensed agent) then you do need go to the second step.

2. Landlord training. All landlords that partly or fully manage their property portfolio must also complete one of two training programs in order to get a landlord license.

For those who just manage their own property/properties the basic landlord training is needed, you can do this via an online training course at a cost of £30 or on an accredited course which are held all over Wales by Rent Smart Wales or via other providers including our own landlord training courses. The costs for these vary from £100 VAT to our subsidized courses at £60 VAT you just need to shop around. This course will also cover you if you manage properties on behalf of your very immediate family like parents or your brother or sister but not if you do this for others.

For landlords who manage properties for others like more distant family or friends etc you will need to do the additional agent component of the course. The cost of the total course will then be £50 online or £140 with Rent Smart Wales but again you can shop around, we did ours as a special promotion for £60 VAT.

Worth noting here that going on one of the all day courses is more expensive and may take longer, however we have spoken to over a hundred landlords who have done the course with us and everyone, including the sceptics, have got something out of the day that they would not have if they had simply done the online training. On a good course you willhave opportunities to meet experts and others in the same position as you and this interaction throws up many questions and solutions to the daily issues that you as a landlord have to deal with.

3. Your license application is the last of the things you need to do before the deadline on the 23rd. This part isessential and you cannot apply for it until you have completed a training course (step 2).

The fee is £144 for this and you will need oneeven if you only partially manage any partof the process for renting out your property or maintaining it. If you have “staff”they will also have to be declared and also do the relevant training in orderfor you to be granted your license. Staff are defined as individuals who youpay a salary to or who is an “employee” for payroll purposes.

Once completed, congratulations, you arecompliant and can rest assured that you have done everything needed to avoidthe heavy fines that are being put in place to clean up the property market.

Whilst this may seem like yet another burdenput onto landlords, especially after the Stamp Duty tax changes you could lookat this another way. This legislation is long overdue and will start to cleanup our industry. The costs attached will be used to pay for the enforcement ofthese news laws and take out a lot of rogue landlords and agents alike. In ouropinion this will lead to the bottom end of the market being either forced to “gounderground”, leave the marketplace or clean up their act, and this will inturn lead to good landlords and good stock being in more demand and drive uprents across Wales.