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Rent Smart Wales Enforcement has started

Rent Smart Wales Enforcement, Rent Smart Wales Deadline
Dr Tom Simcock
Written by Dr Tom Simcock

Enforcement of Rent Smart Wales has now begun. If you are a landlord or letting agent who rents out property in Wales you could face civil and criminal prosecution if you are not registered and licensed (if applicable) with Rent Smart Wales.

If you are not registered or licensed, you could face:

  • Fixed Penalty Notices (of either £150/£250)
  • Inability to serve valid Section 21 notices to gain possession
  • Rent Repayment Orders
  • Rent Stopping Orders
  • Criminal Prosecutions and Fines

To avoid Rent Smart Wales enforcement action being taken against you, please take action now to comply.

There are currently an estimated 50,000 landlords who are not registered or licensed yet, even past the Rent Smart Wales deadline of 23rd November, and we are receiving calls daily about the issues landlords are having with the process. Many are complaining over the lack of telephone support from Rent Smart Wales, with some landlords saying they are having trouble getting answers on which licence they need.

To help landlords we have produced an easy three step guide to help you through this process:

  1. Register as a Landlord with Rent Smart Wales (costs £33.50 online or £80.50 for paper application)
  2. Book and undertake training course and pass assessment with the RLA
  3. Complete licence application

If you would like more information you can view our guide to Rent Smart Wales.

Any landlord who joins the RLA will have access to our online Rent Smart Wales course for FREE for a limited amount of time.


Join the RLA and access free online Rent Smart Wales training

We have also put together a handy diagram to help you understand the different licence types and the process to get a licence for each type (if you click on the image, you can download a PDF version).

Rent Smart Wales


About the author

Dr Tom Simcock

Dr Tom Simcock

Tom is the Senior Researcher for the RLA and leads the RLA’s research lab; the Private renting Evidence, Analysis and Research Lab (PEARL). His expertise lies in researching change in society, public policy and quantitative and qualitative research methodologies. Tom’s research on housing has received national media coverage, featuring on the front page of The Times, has influenced government policy making, and has been cited in debates in the House of Commons, House of Lords and by the London Mayor.


    • Hi Guy,

      We’re sorry you are having trouble with the Rent Smart Wales website and difficulty getting in touch with them on the phone. Unfortunately, we don’t have any control over their service as we’re the RLA, and not the Welsh Government. Have you tired contacting our Landlord Advice Team as they might be able to help you through the process?

  • Hi Tom,
    It clearly says on the details that Any landlord who joins the RLA will have access to our online Rent Smart Wales course for FREE for a limited amount of time..I have just joined and tried to book the course and it is already charging me £30?? Why??

    • Hello Mair Arthur,

      We do currently have a bundle deal for membership & rent smart wales online training, it might be that you didn’t select the offer when joining.

      If you would like to give us a call on 03330 142 998 and ask to speak to Training, we will be able to resolve this issue for you.
      Many thanks,

  • Hi, I have registered as a landlord and completed associated course but am unable to fill in an online lince application through the rent smart website. Is there an issue do you know? I have tried calling but there is approx. 30 min waiting time

  • Rent Smart Wales. Its a pity to see that something that could have been a real step forward for all Landlords in Wales has been so badly supported and not very well thought through.
    So much advice was offered to the Welsh assembly and the creators of Rent Smart Wales and in their arrogance they chose to ignore it all.
    What a wasted opportunity, I hope that they recover from this very embarrassing debacle!

    Michael Johnson- Landlord Licence LR-85007-48655

    • Absolutely.
      They have had a year to sort this out and the people who are really affected (as always),
      are legitimate landlords.
      The so-called ‘rogue landlords’ that are ‘off the radar’, have nothing to fear from this shambles of a scheme if the evidence to date is to be relied upon.
      I wrote to the Assembly member responsible for the introduction of this legislation, expressing my concerns and had the usual waffly email back in return, answering none of my questions and addressing none of my concerns.
      This was doomed to failure from the start going on the past record of the WAG?

    • Totally agree with Michael Johnson. 2 years ago I pleaded with Welsh Government for MORE OUTREACH PROGRAMMES to landlords. There are landlords on the breadline who don’t even have internet access, they might have one property and not know about their responsibilities. All we have had is adverts on the back of the 62 bus, and leaflets put out two months ago, plus stuff on their WAG website. So here we are….70,000 landlords most probs now classed as criminal. It’s criminal. I know who I wont be voting for in years to come, and I hope the Welsh Assembly Minister Carl Sergeant wakes up one day and admits “I got it wrong”.

  • Unlike others,I had a smooth ride through the whole process which I completed earlier this year.
    I was skeptical at first ,seeing this as another intrusion and red tape, but throughout the process if I needed advice , Rent Smart Wales were a phone call away.
    Early in the year they told me if I wished they were allowing an online course to save applying for a place at their designated training venues.
    I waited till this facility was available ,took the course and duly received my landlord registration . All done online, minimum fuss and cost , all from the comfort of my home!
    I cannot speak for those who have had problems in communicating with RSW , but I suggest we all had a full year to get this sorted and from what I had read there are many landlords still to register!

  • I have registered with rsw and done the training but could not apply for licence on line when tried to get through by phone could not was on the phone numberous times waiting for an hour to get through

  • I am a land lord for one property in Wales, live in England and have seen no notification, adverts of any sort until my agent, who found my initial tenant, sent a letter to his past customers.
    There have obviously been gross errors in instigating this scheme and although I can see the purpose of the scheme which gives protection for tenants I can see the possibility of gross injustices if landlords are fined and criminalised.

  • The failure of local authorities to use the previous legislation and powers to any significant degree encourages even the most conscientious of landlords to ignore Rent Smart Wales, on the basis that the authorities are incapable or unwilling to enforce the law. On another level, landlords as well as tenants have rights which should be supported even if UK leaves EU. Those rights are unduly infringed by such doctrinaire and unbalanced regulation.

  • My wife and I own our own property investment business and would like to build a HMO / rental business in Wales. The business model is to use letting agents to provide a fully managed service to both us and our tenants. We understand that we need to be registered, and that there is no need to be licensed. However, the RentSmartWales site does not provide information or process for corporate landlords.

    What advice can you give?

    • Hi David,
      Thank you for your comment.

      From my understanding of your situation, as you are not looking to be involved in the management of the property, all you would have to do is register each of the properties yourself with RentSmartWales through their register the properties section. Also please make sure that you use a licensed agent for the property management.

      We do offer landlord advice through our landlord helpline, if you need any assistance we’re here to help.

      Kind regards,

  • Hi Tom Simcock

    I have ‘one’ lovely rental property – It’s only 9 years old and I have had four different tenants living there very happily to date (Now ‘all’ are friends and we keep intouch – Yep, I am that ‘A1’ landlady!) Home is always re-painted top to bottom and still looks like a new build & I’ll do anything to make tenants happy!
    Your ‘Rent Smart’ scheme!

    What is your point??

    This scheme will NOT route out the ‘rogue’ landlords!!

    It will NOT help tenants (There’s already enough help out there for them!)

    I’m happy to ‘register’ as a landlord – but why should I pay?

    Why do I need to sit an exam ? I can supply testimonials for my superb care of tenants!

    What happens if I ‘fail’ your exam …….?? You telling me I’m not capable of supplying a quality home (all gas safety regs etc. all in place) You say I have to ‘try’ again when I can give you references from 100% happy past tenants?
    Fail your exam and I can’t rent out?? (Is that what happens?)

    Why do I need to sit an exam?

    In my opinion – this is all ‘stuff and nonsense’ and just another way of your obtaining additional funds from ‘the good guys!’

    I’ll ‘BUY’ a license if I need to ….. BUT I ask that you come and inspect my rental and approve it as a five star accommodation! Which it sure is! Why do I need to take an exam/on-line course with the chance of failure …..Time and expense, an expense which does not sit happy!

    I did not know about ‘Rent Smart’ as I have happily lived in a bubble whilst I had settled tenants. My tenants now need to move on and I asked an Agent to find me new tenants for the usual ‘finders fee’ ….. haha, she has now jumped on the band wagon and see’s an extra earner thanks to ‘Rent Smart’ and says that as I am unlicenced then she will ‘manage’ my property at the cost of 10% rental income pcm ……

    I will NOT be giving £75 pcm to someone for doing nothing! I think your hair brained scheme is helping Estate Agents see a further opportunity for obtaining extra cash for nothing! Plus their scare mongering!

    What a total farce this whole thing is!

    Shame that this page see’s comments being written and there’s no option for me to ‘like/agree’ for you to get a true measure on peoples feelings!

    In a nut shell:

    I have registered!

    I DO NOT feel the need to waste my time sitting any exam (I have no time!) and it will not make me a better landlord!
    I am already very good!

    If you feel I need to be licenced – then just come out and inspect my property, tick off your tick boxes and issue me a certificate of excellence!!

    That is the way forward!

    Registration and Inspection!!!!

    Only that way will you ever improve conditions for tenants and oust out the rogues!

    Rebekah (Cardiff)

    I’d buy a ‘dog license’ if I had too ….. That’s just me being a complying citizen

    • Hi Rebekah,

      Thank you for your comment. However, we are not Rent Smart Wales and this is not our scheme. We are the Residential Landlords Association the leading trade body that represents Landlords across England and Wales. We have been actively lobbying against this scheme and we are opposed to licensing and registration of landlords. These articles are designed to raise awareness of the issues among landlords.

      Kind regards,

      • Hey Tom!

        After my ‘rant’ seems you now are a ‘good guy’ (?) …. Please tell me what on earth is going on?

        I have registered my one and only rental (Cardiff) But have not got the Newly needed license (Shall NOT sit an exam!!)

        You are lobbying against the scheme?

        Thought you were the bad guy … apologies!

        Tell me more?

        Kind Regards,

        Rebekah (Cardiff)

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