Landlords - Legislation and Regulations

How can I ensure that I keep up to date with changing regulations and legislation?

The best way of keeping up to date is to join a landlords association which will keep you informed of any changes to legislation and regulations that you need to know about - contact Swansea Housing Options, Swansea Environment Department, the National Landlords Association, the Guild of Residential Landlords or the Residential Landlord Association for further information.

The City and County of Swansea's Private Sector Housing Section runs landlord training sessions as part of the Landlord Accreditation Wales Scheme and also produce a quarterly newsletter for landlords - contact them here telephone 029 2087 1815 for additional information.

The Council also enforces housing standards and management practices in rented accommodation.  Please contact them on (01792) 635600 or by email if you wish to find our about requirements in relation to room size, fire precautions, amenities etc.

Bonds, rent in advance and other money payable before the start of a tenancy

It is common practice for landlords to ask for a bond. The Swansea Bond Board may be able to help with guaranteeing the bond, but his isn't available in every case and will only be to help the tenant into the property.  In the longer term, tenants will need to agree with their landlords what arrangements can be put in place once the Bond Board gaurantee expires. 

Registration Fees

Some landlords will make charges for services such as drawing up an inventory, or creating a tenancy agreement.  These charges are completely legal, however you need to remember that a new tenant may already be struggling to find the money needed to move into a new home, so putting additional barriers in their way, may prevent a perfectly good tenant from moving into your property. 

Some landlords and agents however, will try to make charges for services not associated with setting up the tenancy. For example, fees to register an applicant's details or send out a list of the available properties.  This practice is illegal and persons found guilty may be open to prosecution under the Accommodation Agencies Act 1953.

How can I regain possession of my property?

The first thing you need to remember is that in many cases, having an empty property will cost you more than to continue letting a property.  You should view repossession as a last resort and try to come to an amicable arrangement to resolve any difficulties between you and your tenant. 

If things really aren't working out with your tenant you can speak to Housing Options for advice or if the tenant agrees, you can ask the Tenancy Support Unit to help. 

If you are certain that you have no option other than to evict your tenant please click here for guidance on how to do this correctly.

Remember only court appointed officials can conduct evictions.  It is illegal under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 for you, (or someone else acting on your behalf, including the Police) to remove someone from their home even if you have served valid notice or obtained a possession order. 

It is also an offence for you to make it difficult for your tenant to remain in the tenancy such as disconnecting utilities or making repeated unnecessary visits and inspections.  This is classed as harassment and carries similar penalties as illegal eviction.

The Council has a duty to prevent illegal eviction and landlord harassment.  Where possible this will be done amicably, however where this has failed, the council have to consider whether it is appropriate to seek prosecution through the courts.  This may affect your ability as a landlord to let properties now and in the future if you are subject to any registration or licensing requirements.

Click here to see examples of previous landlord prosecutions.

What do I need to do if I am a landlord for a 'House of Multiple Occupation' (HMO)?

If you are a landlord letting a HMO, you need to be aware of the additional responsibilities you may have under the Housing Act 2004.  You may need to register for a licence with the local council before you can let large HMOs and some council have additional licensing for smaller HMOs in some areas.  You can download a HMO licence application here

The consequences of incorrect licensing or operating an eligible HMO without a licence are severe.  If you are unsure about any aspect of HMO licensing you should speak to the local HMO team in the local council on 01792 636000.