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Letting agents and landlords could be operating illegally after law change

Agents and landlords with properties in Wales have been reminded they could be breaking the law if they're not signed up to the Rent Smart Wales scheme.

Enforcement powers for the licensing scheme - which was introduced in 2016 - are now active, meaning non-compliant agents and landlords could be prosecuted.

Those operating in the Welsh private rented sector are required to register with the Rent Smart Wales scheme. On top of this, self-managing landlords and agents are required to obtain a licence, complete a training course and pass a 'fit and proper' persons test.

Sanctions for non-compliance include prosecution, fixed penalty notices, rent repayment orders and the inability to serve a valid Section 21 eviction notice.

The licensing scheme has now added a searchable register to its website, and is encouraging tenants and the wider public to check whether landlords and agents are registered.

Registration can be completed online and a Rent Smart Wales licence and registration lasts for five years.

“I would urge any landlords or agents with properties in Wales and who have not yet registered or become licensed, to contact us immediately to avoid legal action," says Bethan Jones, operational manager of Rent Smart Wales. 

"We are still keen to assist those who willingly want to comply."

She says that she is still of the firm belief that the licensing scheme will improve the PRS for agents, landlords and tenants.

The scheme has not been without its controversy and it was estimated in November that only around 65% of landlords and agents working in Wales had met the deadline for licence registrations.

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