The deadline for licensing and registration for landlords and agents in Wales will not be extended and enforcement will be taken against those who don’t comply, officials have warned.
From November 23 all landlords must register and agents and self-managing landlords must obtain a licence in a scheme called Rent Smart Wales, but Cardiff Council, which is administering the scheme, said while it recognised some were facing difficulties due to high demand, the deadline is fixed.
A statement from Rent Smart Wales said 46,300 landlords have registered and a further 11,400 have begun the registration process, while more than 68,000 users have created accounts and are involved in the process of complying.
A Rent Smart Wales spokesman said: “Landlords and agents in Wales will have had a full year to comply since the launch of the scheme in November 2015.
“We have run a comprehensive awareness raising campaign and believe landlords are aware of their legal obligations.
“The large increase in numbers registering as the deadline approaches illustrates this.
“We have no intention of extending the deadline. However, we do recognise that, due the very high numbers of landlords visiting the website to register and apply for licences, some are experiencing difficulties. The Rent Smart Wales team consists of 79 posts and the team are working hard to reduce waiting times for customers
“Once the November 23 deadline for complying has passed, enforcement powers will be used in a sensible and proportionate manner. Our team of enforcement officers will be working in partnership with local authorities across Wales and priority for action will be those landlords/agents who have failed to start the process of complying with the legislation.”
The Rent Smart Wales website says it is currently taking ten days to respond to emails and applications can take up to eight weeks to process.
To obtain a licence agents need to visit the Rent Smart Wales website and will also need to complete an approved training course.
A licence is only needed for the company but employees must be declared on the document.
The cost of the licence, which lasts for five years, depends on the number of properties let in Wales.
Fees start at £1,890 for those with up to 100 rented properties in Wales if the agent is a member of a professional body. Fees start at £2,100 for those that aren’t part of a membership organisation.
Failure to comply could result in restrictions of Section 21, rent stopping orders, and fines.