A leading property investor is warning new legislation for the private rental sector in Wales may not deal with rogue landlords.
The new rules, coming into force later this month (November 23 2016), mean anyone who owns and rents out a property in Wales needs to be licensed and registered. The legislation has been introduced by Rent Smart Wales which is run by Cardiff City Council – the organisation designated by Welsh Ministers as the country’s Licensing Authority.
Mandy St John Davey has been an investor and landlord for 17 years and is well known in the property and construction industry in Wales and throughout the UK.
While she supports the motivation behind the legislation - to ensure tenants get a fair deal from registered landlords - she’s worried the new rules will not be properly policed and the money raised from licensing fees may not be proactively used to weed out the rogues.
She said: “Good, ethical landlords of which there are many of us, already understand the standards required and our responsibilities such as ensuring gas and electrics are safe, heating and water systems are working and in order, smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are in place, and the general property is kept in good order.
“These changes will not on their own stop rogue landlords in their tracks – the rules need to be policed and action taken against anyone who is not licensed or who is acting in an unethical manner towards tenants.”
She also feels rents for tenants will inevitably increase to cover the costs of the new legislation.
“Many private landlords and possibly many letting agents, who handle properties on behalf of landlords, will be unable to absorb the costs of all this new legislation, so will have to pass them onto the tenants.”
Mandy is calling for a comprehensive report from Cardiff City Council on how much money has been allocated to administer this scheme, how much is expected to be raised during its first year of operation, and how the scheme will work to bring rogue landlords to book.
She says: “I do think we need to see the detail if we, as landlords in the private rental sector, are to support it in the long term. Is the money collected actually going to be used to seek out the rogues and take action against them? Just having the rules on their own in the hope they deter disreputable landlords is not enough.”
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