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Superstar landlord, or Rigsby-style Rogue? Take our quiz and find out!

Posted by: Adam Male on 2 October 2016
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Loading... Q&A: I let a property in Cardiff. What do I need to do in preparation for Rent Smart Wales?

Posted by: Adam Male on 29 September 2016
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I let and self-manage a property in Cardiff. What do I have to do to comply with the new Rent Smart Wales scheme?


The new Rent Smart Wales scheme is a compulsory licensing and registration scheme which requires landlords to:

  • Register their properties

  • Have a Landlords Licence if managing a property themselves

  • Demonstrate they are fit and proper to hold a licence

  • Undertake training in order to obtain the licence

You need to be in receipt of a property registration number and a Landlords Licence by 23 November.

Be aware that it takes anything from 2 to 8 weeks for the paperwork to be processed, so you need to register asap.

You could face a fine between £200 to an unlimited amount, if not completed in time.

 Register your property

The cheapest and easiest way to register is online at Rent Smart Wales. You will need your name, date of birth, correspondence details and the full address and postcode of any rental property in Wales you are the landlord for. Note: if you are a Landlord Accreditation Wales (LAW) member some information has been automatically transferred.

You can download a paper Landlord Registration form. 

Once you have completed your registration you will receive confirmation and be provided with a unique registration number.

It costs £33.50 to complete an online registration which is paid at the end of the process. If you use the paper form, the fee is £80.50 and you have to pay over the phone on 03000 133344.


Check whether you meet the criteria for a Landlord Licence

If you undertake any of the following at a property in Wales for which you are the landlord, then you need a licence:

  • Arranging or conducting viewings with prospective tenants

  • Gathering evidence for the purpose of establishing the suitability of prospective tenants (for example, by confirming character references, undertaking credit checks or interviewing a prospective tenant)

  • Preparing, or arranging the preparation, of a tenancy agreement

  • Preparing, or arranging the preparation, of an inventory for the dwelling or schedule of condition for the dwelling

  • Collecting rent

  • Being the principal point of contact for the tenant in relation to matters arising under the tenancy

  • Making arrangements with a person to carry out repairs or maintenance

  • Making arrangements with a tenant or occupier of the dwelling to secure access to the dwelling for any purpose

  • Checking the contents or condition of the dwelling, or arranging for them to be checked as part of a current tenancy or for one which has ended

  • Serving notice to terminate a tenancy


Sign up to a training course

If you undertake any of the activities above, you will need to have sufficient training before being issued with a Landlords Licence. Take a look at:

Rent Smart Wales online Landlord Course covers the modules, The Housing (Wales) Act 2014; Registration; Licensing; Agents; Exemptions; Training; Pre-tenancy; Responsibilities and Liabilities of the landlord/letting agent; Setting up a Tenancy; During the Tenancy; Smoking and the Health Act 2006; Assessment. It costs £30.

The Rent Smart Wales classroom Landlords Course covers General Overview about Renting; Setting Up a Tenancy; Responsibilities and Liabilities; During Tenancy; Ending a Tenancy and Assessment. It lasts from 9.15am-4.30pm and costs £100.

Online and classroom courses are in English and Welsh.


Submit an application for a Landlord licence

  •  Apply for a Landlord Licence (it is easier and cheaper to do on the Rent Smart Wales website)

  •  Start by creating a personal account

  •  Submit the information requested

  •  Pay the fee

  •  Submit evidence of suitable training

  •  Complete the ‘fit and proper’ person declaration

You can download a paper Landlord Licence form here 

To submit a valid licence application, all the information required must be submitted, the correct fee must be paid, evidence of suitable landlord training must be provided and the 'fit and proper' person declaration must be completed (checks are done to ensure applicants don’t have criminal records).

For an online application the cost is £144 and the paper application £186.


Get your unique licence number and licence card

Once a complete licence application is submitted it will be assessed to determine if a licence can be granted. If awarded, the landlord will receive notification of their unique licence number and the conditions attached to their licence, plus a licence card in the post

Keep your licence up to date and adhere to the Code of Practice

Once a landlord is licensed it lasts for 5 years. During that time the landlord must keep the information up to date (for instance updating correspondence details if they change) and also comply with the conditions of the licence. One condition is to adhere to the Code of Practice.

If a licence holder fails to comply with any condition of their licence, or is no longer ‘fit and proper’, their licence can be revoked. 



Stoptober gets started! What to do if you don't want smoking in your property.

Posted by: Adam Male on 29 September 2016
Comments: 0

Have you smelt the whiff of smoke when visiting your rental property? In a recent survey 21% of tenants admitted breaking the rules of their tenancy agreement by smoking in their rental property. It may not be that the tenants are heavy smokers – they may be social smokers or have visitors who smoke - but whatever the reason it puts the landlord in a dilemma if the tenancy states that smoking is not permitted inside the property. So what are the options?


Discourage your tenants

In reality, there’s probably nothing you can be do to stop a tenant from smoking in the property, even if the tenant signed a tenancy agreement which states that smoking is not permitted inside the property. 

In the event where you have caught your tenant smoking inside your property, or you suspect they have been, the best approach is to ask them to only smoke outside. Nicely, of course.


Warn them you could retain part of the deposit

You may have grounds to use the deposit for a professional clean at the end of the tenancy to remove any stains caused to interior walls and fabrics by smoking. You may wish to warn them of this. However, in order to enforce this, you will need to rely on a good inventory which was drawn up at the beginning of the tenancy. Otherwise it may be difficult to prove that the damage was caused by the tenant. Of course, if the tenant is a decent human being, they could just accept liability and cover the expenses.


Take legal action

If you feel strongly about the tenant smoking and are prepared to lose your them, then there is the route of eviction.

The landlord’s grounds to evict the tenant for breach of the lease (Section 8 notice: Ground 12: The tenant has broken one or more of the terms of the tenancy agreement, except the obligation to pay rent) are enforced at the discretion of the court, and a court is very unlikely to grant possession because the tenant is smoking in the property, especially if the tenant is paying rent on time. It’s probably not worth trying to go down the legal route using Ground 12. You’ll most likely end up throwing money down the drain.

It would be worth considering Section 21 - a section of the Housing Act 1988 that allows landlords to seek recovery of possession of a property which has been let on an assured shorthold tenancy. But a Section 21 can’t be issued within four months of the start of the tenancy and you have to give two months notice, so the tenant will be in the property for at least 6 months. In order to issue a Section 21 you would need to fulfill a number of requirements as detailed in Urban’s Section 21 advice.



Be aware of the law if you are landlord of a house with multiple occupancy

The regulations for smoking in HMO’s (House with multiple occupancy) somewhat varies. The Smoke-free (Exemptions and Vehicles) Regulations 2007 make it an offence to smoke in the shared parts of residential premises. This could include hallways, corridors, kitchens, bathrooms etc. Owners/managers of premises are advised to put up appropriate no smoking signs. The local council not the police are in charge of enforcing the Smoke Free law but there are penalties for the person who manages a Smoke Free Place, if it is not maintained. More information can be found at SmokeFreeEngland.


Get non smoking tenants

One of the best solutions is to try and tackle the problem at the early stages - during the tenant finding stage. Essentially, finding a tenant that doesn’t smoke is the best solution.

  •  Ensure that all your adverts clearly state that you’re looking for NON-SMOKING tenants only

  • During the viewing, ask your tenants if they smoke, and remind them that smoking is not permitted inside the property
  • Most tenants know that most landlords are looking for tenants that don’t smoke, so they will often bend the truth as their choices are limited otherwise. In this case, try and look for signs for smoking habits during the viewing. As said, the smell of smoke generally grips onto clothing and hair for its dear life

  • While it may prove to be futile, it’s still worth putting a clause in the tenancy agreement which states that smoking inside the property is not permitted. It’s also worth going through all the clauses with the tenant just before they sign the tenancy, so they’re reminded of the clause.

Apply a premium rent

Another way to deal with any damage caused by a smoking tenant if you decide to let to them, is to require a premium rent. It doesn't need to be much, maybe 5%, just enough to cover the costs of a redecoration.

The good news is that smoking rates in England having fallen to the lowest on record - in 2015, only 16.9% of adults described themselves as smokers, so hopefully it will become increasingly less of an issue. Q&A: I have inherited a property and want to let it out. I've heard that the early stages are the most vital, is this right?

Posted by: Adam Male on 25 September 2016
Comments: 0


I have inherited a house which I plan to let out and I’ve heard that I need to be careful at this early stage to get everything right in case I needed to evict the tenant in the future. Is that right? 



Yes - careful pre-planning is now essential at the time of setting-up Assured Shorthold Tenancies (AST). 

The Section 21 eviction process for ASTs in England and Wales is a very valuable concession for landlords: it allows for no-fault (no reason required) eviction of tenants. But recent changes in the law means it is more difficult to use Section 21. 

You need to be aware of the following circumstances in which the law says that a landlord cannot seek possession against a tenant using section 21 of the Housing Act 1988.


    Where the landlord has not provided the tenant with (a) an energy performance certificate, (b) gas safety certificate and (c) the Department for Communities and Local Government’s publication “How to rent: the checklist for renting in England” (see the Assured Shorthold Tenancy Notices and Prescribed Requirements (England) Regulations 2015)
  2. Where the landlord has not complied with the tenancy deposit protection legislation.

  3. During the first four months of the tenancy. If the tenancy is a replacement tenancy, the four month period is calculated from the start of the original tenancy and not the start of the replacement tenancy.

  4. Where the landlord is prevented from ‘retaliatory eviction’ under section 33 of the Deregulation Act 2015. See Q&A on Repairs 

  5. Where a property requires a licence but is unlicensed. 

It’s worth noting that any AST starting on or after 1 October 2016 needs the new form of Section 21 Notice - Form 6a.

As you are new to being a landlord you may want to think about whether to use our Tenant Finder Premium package until you feel confident about the administrative and legal side of renting a property. 

New research reveals the most frequently-cited rules broken by tenants. So what are they?

Posted by: Adam Male on 21 September 2016
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The new research by Direct Line Landlord insurance may not come as a surprise to some landlords. Top of the broken rules was 25% failing to pay rent, followed by 21% smoking when forbidden, and 18% keeping a pet without permission. 

Other broken rules that tenants admitted to included changing the locks, causing disturbances or a nuisance to neighboring properties, subletting without permission, not cleaning windows, and decorating without permission. 

Nick Breton, Head of Direct Line for Business, advised ‘Tenants who break the rules of their contract can face anything from the loss of their deposit to eviction, so for peace of mind, landlords should ensure they have a watertight legal contract in place to fall back on should anything happen to their property’. He also advised that it is a good idea to go through all of the clauses and penalties with the tenants before they sign the agreement to ensure that they are clear on the rules of the tenancy and then maintain a dialogue with tenants as well as making scheduled visits to the property to ensure it is being maintained to a level that was agreed in the contract.

The sanctions available for breaking tenancy rules include losing some or all of the deposit which happened to 52%, followed by 22% having to pay for any damages and in some extreme cases some 4% were evicted. Landlords may have grounds to use the deposit for a professional clean at the end of the tenancy to remove any issues caused by smoking or pets. However, in order to enforce this a good inventory  would be needed which was drawn up at the beginning of the tenancy. Otherwise it may be difficult to prove that the damage was caused by the tenant. 

But landlords take note: 21% of tenants say that the landlord never found out about their misdemeanors! Thankfully, the research also revealed that 65% of tenants do stick to the rules!