Welsh HMO landlords could find themselves required to pay an additional licence fee as well as the Rent Smart Wales registration fee after Swansea councillors approved a pricey new additional licensing scheme.

The National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) says the high fee – between £714 and £1,020 – is like schemes in London where the operating costs would be expected to be higher.

Despite this, The City and County of Swansea is pushing ahead with the scheme for HMOs in the St Thomas electoral ward from February 2021 and is also renewing the scheme in the Castle and Uplands wards.

It reports that 41% of HMOs in the Castle ward were subject to complaints relating to poor waste management, while 38% were related to noise complaints.

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Social issues

But the NRLA argues that this is typical of a general inner-city area and is the result of social issues and not the lack of bureaucracy around landlords.

It claims that with only 12 HMOs in the St Thomas ward, there’s insufficient need for a scheme there.

The council says additional licensing will be used as a tool to improve standards by working with landlords, while licence fees will go towards funding more HMO officers, although it acknowledges that recruitment will be challenging during the pandemic. 

NRLA Welsh policy officer Tim Thomas (pictured) says: “Given the difficulties the council are likely to face in recruiting officers to improve HMO properties in the area, the NRLA Wales have written to the deputy leader asking him to consider delaying the scheme until a time when recruitment will be less restricted.”

Read more: Are HMOs the way forward within the PRS?

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