The first rent repayment order has been issued in Wales against a landlord who was found to be operating without the required licence.
The landlord has been ordered to pay back almost £4000 of rent that was paid to him, during the time in which he was operating without a licence.
The rent repayment order that was issued is the first of its kind, under the rules of Rent Smart Wales.
Earlier this year, the landlord pleaded guilty at Cardiff Magistrates Court to operating as an unregistered and unlicensed landlord ,and was fined and ordered to pay costs of over £400.
He will now have to repay £3983-which is the amount of housing benefit he received for the tenants in his property between February and December 2017.
“The vast majority of landlord are complying”
Cllr Lynda Thorne, Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities at Cardiff Council, the single licensing authority for Rent Smart Wales, said: “This is a first for Rent Smart Wales – the first Rent Repayment Order for an unlicensed landlord and another avenue we can pursue for those who have been convicted of non-compliance with the scheme.
“It is not fair for landlords who evade compliance to benefit financially from operating illegally, while the vast majority of landlords are complying”.
“This first Rent Repayment Order should serve at a stark warning to the minority of landlords who continue to be unlicensed. They face not only prosecution for non-compliance, which if successful will result in a fine and a criminal record, but if convicted, they could also be handed a Rent Repayment Order to hit them in the pocket.”
Rent Smart Wales-background
Established in 2014 under the Housing (Wales) Act, Rent Smart Wales requires all landlords letting a property in Wales to register. Both self managing landlords and agents are required to licence under the scheme.
It was introduced by the Welsh Government in order to root out criminal landlords, professionalize the sector, and improve standards, and was not rolled out officially until 2016.
Want to hear more about Rent Smart Wales? A private sector housing representative at the Welsh Government will be giving an update on the scheme at our Future Renting Wales conference on 29th November.
Matthew, who is responsible for driving change in the private rented sector in Wales, will also be discussing the fee ban in Wales, which began its passage into law in June.
Future Renting Wales is the RLA’s annual conference in Cardiff, which will be held this year on November 29th.
The conference will be hosted by BBC Wales favourite Lucy Owen and will be compared by RLA Vice Chair and Director for Wales Douglas Haig.
- Learn more about Rent Repayment Orders in our useful guide here