MANDY St John Davey, one of Wales’ leading property investors, is warning UK landlords they need to act now to stay on the right side of the law in Wales.
New rules come into force in Wales this autumn requiring anyone who owns and rents out a property in the country to be licensed and registered.
Mandy, who is vice chair of the South Wales branch of the UK Women In Property professional network, has been a property investor and landlord for 16 years, said:
“It’s vitally important anyone who rents out a property in Wales understands what this new legislation means. You don’t have to live in Wales to be affected by it.”
The new landlord and agent registration and licensing scheme – the first of its kind in the UK – is designed to raise standards in the sector in Wales where it’s estimated one in seven residents rent privately. The Welsh Government believes this affects about 184,000 properties.
It’s hoped the rules will make life difficult for rogue landlords, reduce the risk of poor living conditions and ensure more security and clarity for tenants.
But some property investors, like Mandy, believe a licence is unnecessary and will ultimately push rents up for tenants as well as penalising good landlords.
She said: “Whilst I fully agree landlords and agents are trained so they are up to date with new regulations and fully understand their responsibilities, I do have concerns over the licensing and the cost of that license. Along with how that licence money will be utilised.”
“I’ve been an accredited landlord for two years and attended training under the voluntary scheme operated by Landlord Accreditation Wales. At the time I was required to register all my properties with the relevant local authorities. Therefore those local authorities can, at a glance, see who owns a property. So why is there a need to pay for a licence?
“I would rather see local authorities use their existing resources to enforce current legislation and not be distracted by implementing more new systems and costs to penalise good landlords.”
Mandy believes an example of a good scheme already in operation is Welsh Water’s TAP system. All landlords are required to register their properties, and update when a tenant moves in and out of a property. If a tenant vacates owing money on their water bill, the landlord is penalised unless he or she has registered that property under the TAP system.
Mandy said: “I believe the current regulations in the private sector are sufficient to flush out rogue landlords, but I don’t believe it is being policed and enforced properly.”
Mandy, who bought her first property aged 18, now has a multimillion poundportfolio in Wales and abroad and is an advocate of best practice in the sector. She’s is due to take on the role as Chair of the South Wales branch of the UK Women In Property in February 2016 .
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- Fiona Scott