Whilst the first landlords to fall foul of the new Rent Smart Wales legislation have been successfully prosecuted, it is believed that almost 4,000 Welsh Landlords have failed to sign up to the scheme and continue to illegally let properties in the principality.
The scheme requires landlords to become registered or licensed, and was initially launched on 23 November 2015, with landlords given 12 months to register before it became law last year.
While the majority of Welsh landlords are now “fully compliant with legislation”, Rent Smart Wales said it was now cracking down on the remaining landlords and agencies who are flouting the law.
The licensing authority has seen a number of recent successful prosecutions, including the first commercial estate agency in Wales, for failing to comply with the scheme.
Yvette Phillips, trading as estate agent R Miles Scurlock of Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire, failed to submit a completed licence application or register her rental properties and was fined £4,600.
Latest prosecutions of private landlords has seen Damian Cross of Rhodfa’r Gwagenni, Barry, Cardiff landlord Rowjee Singh and Neath landlord Richard Howells, who were all found guilty and fined at Cardiff Magistrates’ Court of offences under the Housing (Wales) Act 2014.
Following the successful prosecutions, a spokesperson for Cardiff Council, the single licensing authority for Wales, warned that landlords who continue to ignore the law will be found and prosecuted. He said:
“Rent Smart Wales regularly receives reports about unregistered properties and landlords who own or manage properties without being registered and licensed. These prosecutions show that we will find out about those individuals who think they are under the radar.
“We work with local authorities across Wales to identify unregistered properties and landlords who aren’t complying and get in contact to remind them of their legal obligations. As these prosecutions show, there are clearly those who ignore the warnings but enforcement activity is gaining momentum and we will take action.”