Posted: Fri 8th Mar 2024

Blaenau Gwent Council Agrees to Outsource Landlord Compliance Checks to Rent Smart Wales /

BLAENAU Gwent councillors have agreed to outsource the service that checks that landlords are complying with housing law.
At a special meeting of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council on Wednesday, March 6 councillors received a report on the proposal to hand over power to Rent Smart Wales as the licensing authority in Wales to enforce the provisions of the Renting Homes Wales Act 2019.
Rent Smart Wales (RSW) is “hosted” by Cardiff City Council.
In Wales, landlords and agents who rent properties are legally required to have a RSW licence.
This is to ensure that they are suitable and understand their rights and obligations.
The report said that local authorities are responsible for enforcing this legislation however they can decide to authorise RSW to enforce the provisions of the act act on their behalf.
In October last year the Welsh Government wrote to local authorities asking them to hand over responsibility for the legislation to RSW.
Council leader Labour’s Cllr Steve Thomas said: “Recent communication from Welsh Government highlight the Act is successful in reducing the financial burden on tenants.
“RSW has the operational capability to identify and act upon breaches through complaints and mandatory agent audits.”
The report explained that if the work is handed over to Rent Smart Wales, then the “administrative burden” is lifted from Blaenau Gwent.
The decision needed to be made by full council, as it is beyond the powers of the council director of regeneration and community services to take it.
Cllr Thomas said: “In light of the benefits and the operational efficiencies that RSW offers it is recommended the council authorises it to act on its behalf.”
Deputy Independent group leader, Cllr Wayne Hodgins asked if there would be an annual report given to the council on how RSW are: “conducting business on our behalf.”
Cllr Thomas said: “That would be good practice.
“We want to keep and eye on it and do that.”
He added that it was “important to note” that there are good landlords in the county borough.
Councillors went to a vote and agreed to the changes.
When RSW was originally set up the Welsh Government believed it would be easier for landlords, agents, and tenants to deal with one administrator rather than deal with 22 separate councils, each one acting as an individual licensing authority.
This means that only one registration is required per landlord and for those who let and manage property one licence is sufficient to operate across Wales. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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