It has almost been a month since landlord registration and licensing in Wales has been in full force (the scheme launched in November 2015, but full enforcement began on the 23rd of November 2016). Landlords who have not registered with Rent Smart Wales and licensed, if self-managing, risk facing serious penalties, which include Rent Stopping Orders, Rent Repayment Orders, and loss of Section 21 rights.
There has been some confusion about whether or not landlords with pending applications are still able to legally serve a Section 21.
The RLA has been informed by Rent Smart Wales that landlords who have taken all the necessary steps to comply with the legislation in advance of the enforcement date can rest assured that their Section 21 rights are protected. There is some variation depending on WHEN you served notice. Please read carefully:
1. If you served your section 21 notice after becoming registered / licensed, you have completed all the necessary steps, and will be asked to provide this evidence as part of your application to the court. This evidence will include the registration and licence reference numbers.
2. If you were not registered / licensed when you served your section 21 notice the following guidance may be
relevant to you:
a. Where the 21 notice was served before the 23rd November 2016, the notice is not affected by Housing (Wales) Act 2014 i.e. if you were not registered or licensed at the time the notice was served the notice will still be valid.
b. Where the section 21 notice was served on or after the 23rd November 2016 and you were not registered / licensed the notice is invalid, unless you submitted a valid application for registration / licence prior to service of the notice. Section 5(a) and 8(a) of the Act explains these exceptions.
c. Where the section 21 notice was served on or after the 23rd November 2016 and you were not registered / licensed and had not submitted applications to become registered / licensed at the time the notice was served, the notice is invalid. There is nothing that you can subsequently do to change this. If you later comply with the requirements to become registered / licensed the notice remains invalid, you will need to reserve a valid notice.
Rent Smart Wales have updated their webpage with this clarifying information. For this and other information about Rent Smart Wales enforcement and licensing requirements, click here.