Rent Smart Wales has made its first prosecution of an unlicensed landlord, a year after the compulsory registration scheme was implemented.
Yvette Phillips, the landlord to fall victim to the scheme, was trading as estate agent R Miles Scurlock of Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire. She failed to submit a completed licence application for her rental properties, which were also unregistered. Phillips was handed a fixed penalty notice in June this year, however she failed to pay this. Despite further reminders, she also failed to submit a licence application or register the properties.
Cabinet member for housing and communities, Councillor Lynda Thorne, commented on the event: ‘It’s almost one year on since the November 23 deadline for all landlords with properties in Wales to become registered and yet there are landlords and agents still out there who believe they can operate outside of the law. We are taking action and we will find out about those individuals who are not complying.’
She continued: ‘As well as court action and potentially a large fine, landlords and agents could face rent penalties and restriction on re-possession of their property as a result of non-compliance. There is no excuse for a commercial agent not to be registered and licensed. I urge any landlords who use a commercial agent to check they are Rent Smart Wales compliant to ensure they are carrying out management duties legally.’
Mrs Phillips was fined £4,600 by Cardiff Magistrates for three offences under the Housing (Wales) Act 2014, and was also ordered to pay court costs of £671 and a £170 victim surcharge.
Damian Cross, a self-managing landlord of Rhodfa’r Gwagenni, Barry was also found guilty of failing to acquire the appropriate licensing for letting and management activities for a property at Beaconsfield, Romilly Road, Barry.
Mr Cross had registered the property, however had failed to apply for a licence. He did not pay a Fixed Penalty Notice for his non-compliance and unlicensed property, or submit a licence application or appoint an agent. As a result, he was fined £660 for two offences under the Housing (Wales) Act 2014, and ordered to pay court costs of £543 and a £33 victim surcharge.