A landlord has been hit with a court bill of £5,570 for operating an unlicensed HMO and breaching Rent Smart Wales licensing requirements.

Robert Ivor Grovell from Tram Lane, Llanfrechfa, Cwmbran was fined £4,400 by Newport magistrates and ordered to pay £1,000 in costs and a £170 victim surcharge.

Newport Council prosecuted the property owner following a property inspection in which he was found to be operating a dangerous HMO.

Although registered with Rent Smart Wales, magitsrates were told he had not applied for a licence.

He pleaded guilty for violating Welsh national licensing requirements and was fined £4,400 and ordered to pay £1,000.

Although this is believed to be the first prosecution, the RLA has learnt through Freedom of Information requests other enforcement action has been taken.

According to Cardiff Council, Rent Smart Wales has issued 12 Fixed Penalty Notices to non-compliant landlords.  Landlords may also face rent stopping orders, rent repayment orders, and the loss of Section 21 rights for not complying.

After the inspection, the landlord completed the required training for Rent Smart Wales and submitted an application for a licence.

Council bosses say the prosecution is a real milestone.

Bethan Jones, Operational Manager of Rent Smart Wales at Cardiff Council, the single licensing authority for the whole of Wales, said: “This case is a real milestone for Rent Smart Wales, being the first prosecution of a non-compliant landlord.

“This prosecution sends a strong message to other non-compliant landlords who continue to flout the law and those who haven’t complied should come forward now to avoid action against them”

All landlords renting private property in Wales, whether they reside in Wales or not, are required to register with Rent Smart Wales.  Those who directly partake in management activities must also obtain a licence.  To apply for a licence, a landlord must undergo training, be “fit and proper,” and abide the scheme’s code of practice.

The RLA is a certified Rent Smart Wales training provider.  To find out more about training dates and general information about Rent Smart Wales, click here.

Don’t be caught out.  The time for compliance is now.