What changed on the 23rd November 2016?

The legislation that introduced the landlord registration process and the requirement for landlords and agents who let and manage rental properties in Wales to be licensed, came into force on the 23 November 2015 (The Housing (Wales) Act 2014). From this time landlords and agents were encouraged to come forward and to comply with their new legal obligations. The legislation made provision for those who needed to comply to do so within a year, without fear of any repercussions for non-compliance i.e. without committing an offence.

The enforcement powers within the legislation have since been activated. This means that Rent Smart Wales and its Local Authority partners across Wales, can now take action to make sure that those who need to comply, do so. Failure to comply with the legislation is now an offence.

I have not yet complied. What should I now do?

Do not delay. If you start the process immediately and make good progress to comply as soon as possible, it is unlikely that we will take enforcement action against you at this time.

You do not need to ring us first, you can start the process online. First you must create a user account on our website (via the ‘Apply’ button in the top right hand corner of the website). Once created you can then complete the following (depending on your circumstances): 

  • Complete a landlord registration: this is a legal process where the landlord has to provide contact information, details of the rental properties in Wales on domestic tenancies that they rent out and also pay the registration fee (£33.50 online). This applies to all landlords in Wales. This should be done first and then any licence required applied for.  Read more
  • Complete a landlord licence application: This process only applies to landlords who let and manage their own rented accommodation. Licensing involves completing training, an application and paying the licence fee (£144 online). Read more
  • Complete an agent licence application:  This applies to commercial letting and management agents or anyone who lets and manages on behalf of landlord. A checklist on how to complete an agent licence application and information on the fees that apply can be found by clicking here

What will happen to those who do not comply with the requirements of the Act?

Marketing activity will continue to make sure that the Rent Smart Wales obligations are well understood across the sector. However, implementation of enforcement measures will be inevitable. Rent Smart Wales's enforcement team is working with local authority partners across Wales. These teams will be working on ‘seek and find’ projects to identify landlords and agents who are not complying with the legislation. This proactive activity will initially target high risk parts of the sector. The legislation gives Rent Smart Wales the power to access various data sources to help tackle non compliance.

There are consequences of committing offences under the Act. These include:

  • Fixed Penalty Notices (of either £150/£250)
  • Rent Repayment Orders
  • Rent Stopping Orders
  • Criminal Prosecutions and Fines

Also, landlords will not be able to serve valid section 21 notices for possession of their property unless the property is registered and either the landlord is licensed or the landlord uses a licensed agent to let and manage the property.

To avoid these measures being taken against you, take action now to comply.

Our enforcement powers will be used in a sensible and proportionate manner and our priority will be to take action where people have not made any steps to comply.

What impact do the enforcement provisions have on landlords / agents who want to use a section 21 notice?


It is a matter for the courts to interpret this legislation and you should always take your own legal advice, but it is Rent Smart Wales’ current view that:

1. If you served your section 21 notice after becoming registered / licensed, you have completed all the necessary
steps, and will be asked to provide this evidence as part of your application to the court.
This evidence will include the registration and licence reference numbers.

The registration and licence status can be viewed on the check register tab on the Rent Smart Wales database.

For additional evidence the information can be downloaded from within your account. You will have also received the information by email and a licence card will have been sent to you by post. All this information has the appropriate reference numbers contained within them. A registration number is normally prefixed with a #RN and a Licence reference number is prefixed with a #LR.

2. If you were not registered / licensed when you served your section 21 notice the following guidance may be
relevant to you:

a.    Where the 21 notice was served before the 23rd November 2016, the notice is not affected by Housing (Wales) Act 2014 i.e. if you were not registered or licensed at the time the notice was served the notice will still be valid.

b.    Where the section 21 notice was served on or after the 23rd November 2016 and you were not registered / licensed the notice is invalid, unless you submitted a valid application for registration / licence prior to service of the notice. Section 5(a) and 8(a) of the Act explains these exceptions.

c.    Where the section 21 notice was served on or after the 23rd November 2016 and you were not registered  / licensed and had not submitted applications to become registered / licensed at the time the notice was served, the notice is invalid. There is nothing that you can subsequently do to change this. If you later comply with the requirements to become registered / licensed the notice remains invalid, you will need to reserve a valid notice.

Waiting for your licence?

Over recent weeks, we have received extremely high volumes of licence applications as landlords and agents have sought to comply with the law by the deadline.

We are working hard to process these applications as quickly as possible and are prioritising agent applications.

For a temporary period only, we expect landlord licence applications, to take longer than the usual period of eight weeks to process. This will not have an adverse impact on you as the date of your licence will run from the date of your approval. We will contact you if we need any further information.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused by this delay and thank customers for their patience during this time.

We want to reassure all those seeking to comply that while enforcement measures are now in place, action will not be taken where applications have been submitted correctly and landlords / agents are actively seeking to meet the requirements.