Q: I am a local landlord and recently gave notice to my tenant to vacate my property after 2 months as I believed I was entitled to do so. The notice has since expired but my tenant refuses to leave and says he has been told by the Council it is an invalid notice as I am not registered as a landlord with Rent Smart Wales. Is this correct?
A: A landlord is able to serve notice of seeking possession under Section 21 Housing Act 1988 (as amended) requiring the tenant to leave but cannot issue possession proceedings until after 2 months have expired from the date of serving that notice. However, as your property is in Wales there is a further requirement for landlords to be registered and for agents and self-managing landlords to obtain a licence from Rent Smart Wales, who are the Licencing Authority under the Housing (Wales) Act 2014. This has been the case since the Act came into force on 23 November 2015.
This legislation made provision for those who needed to comply to do so by 23 November 2016, without fear of repercussion. However the enforcement powers are now active. This means that failure to comply with the legislation is an offence and non-compliance may lead to criminal prosecution.
In addition, landlords will not be able to serve valid Section 21 notices for possession of their property unless and until the property is registered and either the landlord is licensed or the landlord uses a licensed agent to let and manage the property.
If you are in any doubt as to your position you should seek formal legal advice.