Licensing and Local Government Enforcement

Which country is your property in?

Wales England

Local authorities have a number of powers that they can use with the intention of improving conditions in the private rented sector. These powers are either proactive (such as licensing schemes) or reactive (improvement notices, civil penalties, etc).

In Wales, one local authority in particular deals with most of the enforcement in the PRS. Cardiff Council are the administrators of Rent Smart Wales.

Licensing Schemes

Houses in Multiple Occupation - Licensing and Management

Last Updated: 22/07/2020

If your property has more than three floors, and it is rented to five or more people who aren't all related, then in most cases you will be required to have a licence under Part 2 of Housing Act 2004 (mandatory licensing). In addition to this, your local authority can create an additional licensing scheme to cover other HMO properties.

Selective Licensing Schemes

Last Updated: 11/10/2021

If the local authority identifies a genuine need for it then they can create a licensing scheme that applies to all properties in a specific area (selective licensing) regardless of whether they are a HMO or rented to individuals or families.

Rent Smart Wales

Rent Smart Wales Licensing Guide

Last Updated: 01/06/2022

The primary mechanism for enforcement in Wales is now the Rent Smart Wales scheme. Landlords must register and where they are performing Property Management or Lettings Work, they must also have a licence with the scheme. Alternatively, they can register and employ a licensed agent to manage the property for them.

RSW Licence Conditions

Last Updated: 13/08/2020

As a RSW licensee, you will be bound to comply with your licence conditions. These are available here for you to remind yourself of certain rules including those around temporarily leaving someone in charge of your property management responsibilities. There are different conditions for those licensed before and after 1 July 2020, with new conditions regarding inspections added.

Planning use (article 4 direction)

Changing Planning Use - Article 4 Directions

Last Updated: 22/07/2020

If you need to amend, build or change the use of a building then usually you will need to have planning permission for it from your local planning authority. They will need to approve the work before it goes ahead, quite often adding specific conditions to make sure the work meets the building regulations for example.

However, if you have permitted development rights to for the specific change you want to make, then you do not have to ask prior permission from the planning authority.

Amenity standards for licensed HMO

Minimum Amenity Standards for Licensed HMO

Last Updated: 28/09/2020

If your HMO is licensed then it will have to meet the national minimum amenity standards either before the licence is granted or within a specific timeframe set out in the conditions of the licence.

Enforcement powers for property conditions

Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS)

Last Updated: 22/07/2020

The Housing Health & Safety Rating System (HHSRS) is the way in which local authorities assess housing conditions in England and Wales. It uses a risk assessment approach. The aim is to provide a system that enables risks from hazards to be removed or minimised. The method is prescribed by Regulations, made under the Housing Act 2004.

Local authority powers for dealing with property conditions

Last Updated: 22/07/2020

If a local authority is satisfied that they need take action due to a breach of the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) then they have a number of different options at their disposal including compelling the landlord to improve the property via an improvement notice or doing the work themselves where emergency remedial action is required.

Which country is your property in?