First Rent Smart Wales prosecution

Rent Smart Wales, Rent Smart Wales Enforcement
Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

A landlord has been hit with a court bill of £5,570 for operating an unlicensed HMO and breaching Rent Smart Wales licensing requirements.

Robert Ivor Grovell from Tram Lane, Llanfrechfa, Cwmbran was fined £4,400 by Newport magistrates and ordered to pay £1,000 in costs and a £170 victim surcharge.

Newport Council prosecuted the property owner following a property inspection in which he was found to be operating a dangerous HMO.

Although registered with Rent Smart Wales, magitsrates were told he had not applied for a licence and he pleaded guilty for violating Welsh national licensing requirements

Although this is believed to be th first prosecution, the RLA has learnt through Freedom of Information requests other enforcement action has been taken.

According to Cardiff Council, Rent Smart Wales has issued 12 Fixed Penalty Notices to non-compliant landlords.  Landlords may also face rent stopping orders, rent repayment orders, and the loss of Section 21 rights for not complying.

After the inspection, the landlord completed the required training for Rent Smart Wales and submitted an application for a licence.

Council bosses say the prosecution is a real milestone.

Bethan Jones, Operational Manager of Rent Smart Wales at Cardiff Council, the single licensing authority for the whole of Wales, said: “This case is a real milestone for Rent Smart Wales, being the first prosecution of a non-compliant landlord.

“This prosecution sends a strong message to other non-compliant landlords who continue to flout the law and those who haven’t complied should come forward now to avoid action against them”

All landlords renting private property in Wales, whether they reside in Wales or not, are required to register with Rent Smart Wales.  Those who directly partake in management activities must also obtain a licence.  To apply for a licence, a landlord must undergo training, be “fit and proper,” and abide the scheme’s code of practice.

The RLA is a certified Rent Smart Wales training provider.  To find out more about training dates and general information about Rent Smart Wales, click here.

Don’t be caught out.  The time for compliance is now.

About the author

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley is the Magazine and Digital Editor for the NRLA. With 20 years’ experience writing for regional and national newspapers and magazines she is responsible for editing our members' magazine 'Property', producing our articles for our news site, the weekly and monthly bulletins and editorial content for our media partners.

1 Comment

  • I think there’s something not being said in this article – you have to read between the lines.
    Was this really a prosecution for not having the right bit of paper, or was that simply an easy way to prosecute a more serious offence – having a dangerous HMO ?
    The implication is that simply having a piece of paper prevents the running of a dangerous HMO. That’s a logical fallacy that runs through a lot of legislation, including a lot introduced during Tony B Liar’s term – a lot of it appeared to be “the existing law isn’t working (because it’s not being enforced), so lets have some more regulation because that will fix the problem”. As we’ve already observed, we keep seeing new regulation that simply makes something already illegal “more illegal” – and I think landlord registration (to a large extent) comes under this umbrella.
    So one question worth looking into is …
    Had this landlord had “the right bit of magic paper”, would the inspection have happened ? Or is it simply that because he didn’t have the right bit of paper he got inspected ? I know which one my money would be on – and it means that had he coughed up the money for the magic bit of paper, he could have carried on running the dangerous HMO without being caught.
    IF that is the case, then it could be argued that the registration system doesn’t work – all a criminal needs to do is make sure the paperwork is in order and he’ll be left alone. That’s often the case – lets remember that the notorious gangster Al Capone was convicted of tax offences (ie “paperwork”) rather than for his violence etc.

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