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News has broken that the Rent Smart Wales scheme has issued another fine. A Cardiff landlord who ignored the Rent Smart Wales scheme faces a bill of more than £3,500 for non-compliance. This follows the conviction of another landlord who received a £4,400 fine in June, making it two fines in two months.
Landlord Shelley Bailey of Eastwood Park, Wotton-Under-Edge, Gloucestershire was prosecuted under the Housing (Wales) Act 2014 for breaking the law requiring all private landlords with properties in Wales to register and all self-managing landlords and agents to become trained and licensed.
Acting on reports about her failure to comply, Rent Smart Wales officers attempted to contact Ms Bailey to inform her of the requirement to register herself and her seven Cardiff properties and, as a self-managing landlord to complete training and become licensed.
Ms Bailey failed to take any steps to comply and was issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice of £150 in April but her failure to pay led to the prosecution by Cardiff Council, who operate the scheme on behalf of Welsh Government.
She was found guilty of 21 offences in her absence at Cardiff Magistrates Court, fined £3,580 and ordered to pay £457 costs.
Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, Cllr Lynda Thorne, said: "Rent Smart Wales was established to drive up standards in the private rented sector, protecting tenants and ensuring landlords and agents are fit and proper and aware of their rights and responsibilities.
"Landlords and agents had a full year to comply before the November 2016 deadline when enforcement powers became active but despite this, some landlords believe they can continue to flout the law and side-step complying.
"This case shows that we are actively seeking out those who fail to comply and are working with Local Authorities across Wales and others to identify cases of non-compliance. We're keen to hear from tenants and neighbours who have concerns about unregistered landlords and properties.
"As we see with this prosecution, the sanctions for failing to comply with Rent Smart Wales are serious and the fine imposed reflects the complete disregard for the scheme shown by the landlord. It should be a stark warning to all those who are yet to comply and I encourage any unregistered or unlicensed landlords or agents not to delay. Come forward and comply without delay."
So far there has not yet been an agency that has been fined for non-compliance. However, it is imperative for any located agent in Wales or letting property in Wales to comply.
Agents should be aware that to further comply with the law they must protect their tenant’s deposit within 30 calendar days of receipt with a government-authorised scheme, such as mydeposits. This also includes serving tenants with the prescribed information within the same timeframe. Agents must also be members of an external, escalated redress scheme, such as the Property Redress Scheme, and have adequate Client Money Protection insurance in place.
For more information on Right to Rent legislation you can visit the Rent Smart Wales website or call their helpline on 03000 133344.
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