Rent Smart Wales still failing tenants and landlords almost 2 years after launch

By Cardiff Lib Dems, Jul 25, 2017 9:07

A row of terraced houses

Opposition councillors are accusing Cardiff Council of failing tenants and landlords not just in Cardiff, but across Wales, in their first two years of running Rent Smart Wales.

Rent Smart Wales was launched in November 2015 with the aim of increasing standards in the rented sector as part of the Housing Act 2014. The challenge is that the scheme targets all landlords, rather than only targeting bad landlords.

After almost two years, the council estimates that 20% of landlords are still not registered with Rent Smart Wales and many of these are likely to be the ones which aren’t operating to national standards and be below the radar of the council and industry bodies.

On Thursday Cardiff Council is considering a new enforcement policy to try to better coordinate the efforts of the 22 different councils. Councillors have criticised the omission of any assessment of the benefits of the scheme to date and no plan to work with the most challenging properties.

Cllr. Joe Carter, Liberal Democrat housing spokesperson on Cardiff Council, said: ‘Rent Smart Wales has created a lot of bureaucracy, cost landlords and agents, who have passed costs onto tenants, and yet there is little evidence that rogue landlords have engaged in the scheme or been prosecuted. It is failing both tenants and landlords.

"We need Rent Smart Wales and enforcement officers to focus on the small minority of landlords letting homes that are unsafe to vulnerable tenants, rather than this blanket approach of focussing on everyone and achieving little.

"Rent Smart Wales doesn’t just need an enforcement policy, it needs a new strategy to identify this small number of rogue landlords and protect the vulnerable."

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