Anyone who rents out property in Bridgend County Borough needs to comply with a new law that is coming into effect across Wales in November.
By 23 November 2016, all landlords must register themselves and their properties, while all agents and any landlords who also self-manage their properties will need to obtain a licence.
Applications can be made online at www.rentsmart.gov.wales or by calling the Rent Smart Wales helpline on 03000 133344.
The online registration takes only 15 minutes to complete, but a licensing application can take up to eight weeks to process so applicants are being urged to act quickly and not leave it all until the last minute.
Councillor Charles Smith, representing the Shared Regulatory Service which covers Bridgend County Borough, Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan, said:
“These new legal obligations for landlords and agents were first announced nearly 12 months ago, but so far less than 20 per cent of landlords in Bridgend County Borough have registered with Rent Smart Wales.
“The deadline for compliance is now fast approaching and the message to landlords and agents is clear – if you rent out property in Wales you must get up to speed on the law and what it means for you.”
The new legislation, brought in by the Housing Act (Wales) 2014 aims to drive up standards in the private rented sector by helping to prevent the involvement of rogue, and even criminal, landlords and agents in the management and letting of properties.
In order for landlords and agents to be licenced they must be deemed ‘fit and proper’, have undertaken training to ensure they understand their responsibilities, and it is an on-going condition for them to comply with a letting and management code of practice that has been approved by Welsh Government.
Councillor Smith added:
“The Rent Smart Wales laws will help to protect tenants and will support good landlords and agents. Anyone who is not registered or licenced by 23 November will be liable to formal action which could include a fixed penalty notice up to £250 or, in some cases, prosecution.”
It costs £33.50 for a landlord to register with Rent Smart Wales online, and they can register multiple properties under one application. However, separate registrations are required if they are also part of any joint-ownership or company-ownership arrangements.
Landlords who are involved in letting and management tasks need to apply for a licence which costs £144 when completed online. The licence will last five years and there will also be additional fees to cover training courses.
Costs for agent licences vary depending on the number of properties in their portfolio.
For full information, and to apply online, please visit www.rentsmart.gov.wales or call 03000 133344. Further information and advice will also be available at the Bridgend Landlord Forum, held at 6pm on Wednesday 19 October at Bridgend Rugby Club.