Spotlight on Welsh private rented sector – new laws coming

August 24, 2015

Welcome to our Spotlight on Wales.

The private rented sector makes up over 14% of homes in Wales and is growing, meaning that it will soon be bigger than the social housing sector.

It is a very diverse sector with a number of niches, including properties needed for students, for sharers or for households on benefits. It has been estimated that approximately 130,000 landlords operate in Wales who range from “accidental” or “hobby” landlords with a small number of properties to large scale investment companies.

Rents in Wales have largely remained static for a number of years.  The Office of National Statistics reported on the 18th August that the average property price in Wales now stands at £169K.  However, there is a significant difference across the region and town by town.

It is no surprise that Cardiff is the most expensive place in Wales to buy a house and properties in the capital sold for an average of £228,949 in the second quarter of this year.

In comparison properties in Mid and West Wales sold for an average of £151,471.

Nationwide says properties in Cardiff have increased in value by 16% over the past 10 years.

Source information  

Countdown to new regulation of the Welsh PRS

The Welsh PRS is currently in the headlines as a new law is being introduced this autumn which will affect all private sector landlords and housing agents in Wales.

This law will mean that everyone who owns and rents out private property in Wales will have to register with the central licensing authority via,  Rent Smart Wales.  All managing landlords and agents will also have to obtain a new type of licence.

This new legislation will see Wales become the first country in the UK where managing landlords and agents are obliged to undertake training to ensure they are aware of their rights and responsibilities.

What will happen from this autumn?

> all private landlords will be legally required to register with Rent Smart Wales and  will also have to register their properties;

> whoever manages the property, the landlord or an appointed agent, must become licensed, they must demonstrate they are ‘fit and proper’ to hold a licence and undertake approved training;

> once they are part of the Rent Smart Wales scheme, landlords and agents must keep their information up-to-date and comply with all requirements.

The benefits of having a centrally managed registration and licensing scheme are significant and will ultimately improve the standards of letting and management practice in the private rented sector by:

> ensuring landlords and agents are aware of what is required;

> raising tenants’ understanding of their rights and responsibilities;

> providing accurate information on the private rental sector in Wales;

> providing the opportunity for people to  verify that the landlord of a property is registered, and either licensed or has a licensed manager in place;

> providing landlords and agents with regular updates on their duties and responsibilities and providing support to ensure tenancies run smoothly;

> ensuring landlords use agents that are professional, knowledgeable and licensed.

Our M.D., Eric Walker commented:

“Wales is leading the charge in improving standards within the private rented sector, and Northwood will always support any initiative that seeks to do this.

We are already founder members of SAFEagent, and all our 80+ offices are members of the Property Ombudsman, giving consumers peace of mind that they can let through us with confidence.

We will be working closely with Rent Smart Wales to implement these changes in our local offices and with our landlord clients”.

Our flagship office in Wales is:

Cardiff & Newport

This office is ranked 4.67 out of 5, the top ranking agent in the city.  (Source: Allagents).

Some comments from our landlords and tenants:

 “Great people to deal with. Rent is paid on time every month and are highly recommended”.

 “Northwood made everything hassle free and easy. As it was my first time renting, Northwood were extremely helpful and friendly throughout the whole process.”

 “Northwood have managed our properties for 7 years+. The levels of personal service is brilliant, advice on the best way to select tenants, market the property and pricing has always been spot on which means that the property is always occupied. Go with these guys they are the best!!”

  “They look after your place like if it was their own, their services are beyond expectations & they will never ever be late in responding to you regarding any matter!”.

  “I have been using Northwood in Cardiff for a number of years to let my property and always found the staff approachable and professional. They make the letting process very straightforward with a very transparent charging structure. I have now used agents in other areas of the country where Northwood don’t have a presence and the contrast in the service provided couldn’t be more stark increasing my workload considerably. I highly recommend Northwood Cardiff”.

You can contact our Cardiff office for both sales and lettings on 02920 301141 or email cardiff (at) northwoodUK.com.

Northwood is one of the largest and most recognised lettings agents in the U.K. and the leading supplier of Guaranteed Rent to give landlords complete peace of mind.

Find us on Twitter @northwoodUK or visit our YouTube Channel.

 

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