Rent Smart Wales has more potential to elevate standards

In response to the Welsh Government’s call for evidence, Propertymark has shared members’ views on the impact of the legislation on their operations and business practices. We recognise that Rent Smart Wales (RSW) has achieved some progress in regulating and improving the private rental sector (PRS) and have made specific recommendations for how the Senedd can build on this going forward.

Agent shaking hands with couple outside a property

Propertymark has good working relationships with RSW and is a longstanding stakeholder group member. This is important because it allows for two-way communication between RSW and our members, meaning we can flag trends and raise issues on behalf of letting agents in Wales.

A positive force in the PRS

We interviewed letting agent members who operate in Wales, who reported that RSW has had little impact on their business finances or their interactions with tenants. They agreed the legislation has put the Welsh PRS in a better position than colleagues agents in England where, besides local authority licensing schemes, there is no regulation.

In fact, Propertymark agents were more ambitious for their sector, arguing that the regime for training and registration should be more vigorous to ensure property professionals keep up to date with guidance and legislation.

For example, in Scotland, a Level 4 qualification is mandatory for every person who manages or supervises the day-to-day running of letting agency work, and 84% of agents agree that qualifications have been a positive thing for the sector.

Welsh Assembly
07 May 2024
Distaste for rent controls in Wales

Tackling unregistered landlords

Agents report that they still regularly become aware of landlords who have not registered with RSW, which is of concern because it hampers the progress on standards, compliance, and tenant outcomes.

Our members felt that in many cases the landlords are unaware of the requirement, which could be addressed by placing a duty on agents to register any landlords they work with who aren’t already signed up. 

FS Rent Smart Wales.jpg
03 Apr 2017
Fact sheet: Rent Smart Wales

The Housing (Wales) Act 2014 became law on 17 September 2014. The aim of the Act is to improve the supply, quality and standards of housing in Wales.

Raising awareness amongst tenants

The effectiveness of RSW would be improved if more tenants understood the rules and were aware of how to ensure they’re working with a reputable, registered agent.

Propertymark has recommended that the Welsh Government focus on educating consumers and improving public knowledge of the aims of RSW.

Communication, access and support could be improved

There has been criticism of the RSW website, with agents describing it as unhelpful and finding it difficult to find specific documents. Some also reported that getting hold of the right person via telephone can be challenging, and it took too long to access reliable advice.

Members also felt that RSW could do more to signpost support and advice for agents and landlords on key topics, such as local authority funding for empty homes, Disabled Facilities Grants, or energy efficiency subsidies.

Download the full consultation response