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Unlicensed Briton Ferry landlord pleads guilty in Rent Smart Wales prosecution

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A landlord refused a Rent Smart Wales licence to carry out letting and management activities has been found guilty of managing his properties illegally.

Derrick Morgan, of Crossways, Parc Newydd, Briton Ferry, continued to issue tenancy agreements and collect rent from tenants living in his properties in Neath Port Talbot, despite having been refused a licence by Rent Smart Wales in 2019.

All landlords and agents in Wales who undertake letting and management work at rental properties are legally required to have a Rent Smart Wales licence.

At Cardiff Magistrates Court, Mr Morgan pleaded guilty to failing to comply with the requirements of a notice served as part of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014. He was found guilty of a further two charges under the Act including failure to be licensed to carry out letting and property management work and was fined £4,620 and ordered to pay £2,500 in costs and a £190 victim surcharge.

Investigations into the management of Mr Morgan’s portfolio began after Rent Smart Wales suspected a requirement to appoint a licensed agent to manage his properties, following the refusal of his own licence, had not been met. Information requested about the management of the properties was not provided.

Mr Morgan did appoint various agents to manage his properties but continued to carry out management tasks himself – contrary to the requirement to hold a licence to be able to do so. 

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Cllr Lynda Thorne, Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities at Cardiff Council, the single licensing authority for Rent Smart Wales, said: “The requirement for landlords and agents to hold a Rent Smart Wales licence to carry out letting and property management activities is in the legislation for a reason, and it is to ensure that individuals carrying out these duties are suitable to do so and are appropriately trained in their rights and obligations.

“Unfortunately, despite appointing licensed agents to act on his behalf to manage his properties, Mr Morgan continued to be involved, including liaising directly with tenants, and now he must pay the price for that error.

“This is a good time to remind all tenants living in private rented accommodation who have a landlord that carries out letting or management duties to check their landlord is licensed. Checks can be carried out quickly and anonymously by visiting the Rent Smart Wales public register here: https://www.rentsmart.gov.wales/en/check-register/

“If your landlord isn’t licensed, let us know by calling 03000 133344 or via the website www.rentsmart.gov.wales

Lead image: File photo (Image: Wikimedia / Creative Commons / Albert Bridge)

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