A Newport landlord has been the first to be convicted of a licence breach under new Rent Smart Wales legislation.
Buy to let investor Robert Ivor Grovell pleaded guilty to breaching the Rent Smart Wales regulations, which came into practice in November 2016. The landlord, from Llanfrechfa, Cwmbran, was fined £4,400 by Newport magistrates and ordered to pay £1,000 in costs.
An inspection of the Orchard Street property by Newport Council found a plethora of licensing issues. These included a blocked fire escape route, which could seriously endanger the lives of the tenants residing in the home.
Furthermore, the house was found to be without a House in Multiple Occupation Licence.
Grovell was registered as a landlord. However, magistrates were told that he had failed to apply for a licence under Rent Smart Wales. Following the inspection he had completed the required Rent Smart Wales training and submitted his application for a licence.
Rent Smart Wales is the new all-Wales landlord body brought in to govern rental properties. It aims to insure buy to let investors and letting agents comply with Welsh housing laws in the rental sector. It is intended to improve standards in the sector.
Newport council cabinet member Ray Truman commented on the case: ‘This was a serious breach where residents were put at risk because of the landlord’s failure to comply with essential regulations aimed at keeping people safe in their home. Newport council will continue to be vigilant in ensuring landlords and agents stick to the rules covering their rental properties.’
Operational manager of Rent Smart Wales Bethan Jones dubbed the case ‘a real milestone,’ saying: ‘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.’