The Housing (Wales) Act 2014 received Royal Assent on 17th September. The Act covers a number of areas including providing for the introduction of:
• A compulsory registration and licensing scheme for private rented sector landlords and letting and management agents;
• Standards for local authorities on rents, service charges and quality of accommodation;
Once fully implemented the Act will impose a duty on all private landlords to:
• Register all domestic tenancies with the relevant licensing authority, in the area in which the dwelling is located;
• To be licensed if they are undertaking lettings activities themselves;
In instances where private landlords employ the services of a third party to manage the property on their behalf, then the liability for licensing lies with the third party.
Both registration and licensing incur initial costs and further fees after the fifth anniversary of the date of registration.
If landlords are tempted to ignore these regulations the Act allows for the serving on them of:
- a fixed penalty notice
- rent stopping orders, or
- rent repayment orders.
The implementation regulations are however still being discussed and there will shortly be a further consultation which will give an opportunity for both landlords and agents to make further representations to the Welsh Assembly Government. It is therefore expected that these new regulations will not come into force until late 2015 or early 2016.