Landlords located outside of Wales could be prosecuted because they haven’t registered under the new Rent Smart Wales rules.
The deadline to register for property owners fell on 23 November 2016, however property experts at the Cardiff office of Bruton Knowles fear many outside of the Principality could be in line for a nasty shock.
With many landlords experiencing difficulties registering on the Rent Smart Wales website, the main issue for non-Wales based landlords is the complete lack of awareness that they had to sign up to the new scheme.
Property owners living elsewhere could now be fined having failed to register their interests as landlords.
Caroline Jones from Bruton Knowles said: “The enforcement powers under Rent Smart Wales are now active. This means failure to comply with the legislation is an offence.
“However, we know of numerous cases of people living outside of Wales who had no idea on the new Rent Smart scheme. Our fear is that there are many landlords out there who are blissfully unaware of their legal obligation.
“According to Rent Smart Wales, a comprehensive awareness campaign was undertaken to ensure all landlords, of which there are estimated to be between 70,000 and 130,000 in Wales, knew about the new scheme.
“However our understanding is that no pro-active activity was undertaken outside of Wales, leaving many landlords living elsewhere completely in the dark about the new rules.”
The issue raised by Jones refers more to privately managed properties, whereas if the property is managed by an agent, the onus would have been on them to inform the owner.
She is also advising any tenants who think their landlord might not be registered or be aware of the scheme to either get in touch with Rent Smart Wales or the landlord direct.
A simple checking process has been set up on the scheme’s website should any tenant want to check their landlord is registered.
Caroline added: “One final consideration is how will Rent Smart Wales enforce any fines on those who genuinely didn’t know they had to register. We can see a lot of resistance by those who will claim they didn’t know anything about the scheme.
“Tenants who have any concerns about the conduct of their landlord or agent can report this via the Rent Smart Wales website, however we think an element of common sense should be employed if there are cases of owners located outside of Wales, having not signed up.”