Since its Launch late last year Rent Smart Wales has seen over 75,000 landlords and over 1500 agents register with the scheme, accounting for close to 160,000 properties. But it seems some landlords are still not getting the message or are just simply refusing to comply, brushing off the scheme as an exercise in administration or taxation.
But it seems all this could be about to change following the recent prosecution of a Newport landlord who has received a fine totalling £5,570 from Newport magistrates court.
Robert Grovell of Cwmbran is the first person in Wales to be prosecuted for failing to become licensed with Rent Smart Wales, introduced late last year.
Mr Grovell was ordered to pay £1,000 in costs and a further £170 victim surcharge for operating a dangerous, unlicensed house in multiple occupation and failing to comply with the Rent Smart Wales mandate.
Rent Smart Wales requires private landlords to register and managing landlords and agents to undertake training and to become licensed with the scheme.
Grovell was prosecuted under Section 7(5) of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014 at Newport Magistrates court for his non-compliance. The offence was one of a number brought against him by Newport council for housing-related offences at a property in Newport to which Grovell pleaded guilty.
An inspection of the property by environmental health officers in December uncovered serious problems with the design and layout of the property and an escape route blocked with furniture and other items, both of which could have been fatal to tenants in the event of a fire. In addition, the property was occupied as a house in multiple occupation but Grovell had failed to apply for the necessary licence from Newport council.
Rent Smart Wales checks identified that Grovell was “registered but not licensed” even though he was carrying out management activities at the property.
For more information about the scheme and its requirements see https://www.rentsmart.gov.wales/en/