Landlords hit out after staff shortages force closure of telephone helpline
An organisation representing landlords across the UK has described the decision to temporarily close a telephone helpline for landlords in Wales as “appalling”.
The National Residential Landlords’ Association (NRLA) says it contacted Rent Smart Wales after concerned landlords complained that the helpline service had been closed.
A message on the Rent Smart Wales website currently says “We are unable to provide a telephone service at the moment due to staff shortages.”
Rent Smart Wales is the central licensing authority for landlord and rental property registration in Wales and is run in partnership by the 22 Local Authorities in Wales
“This is an appalling move by RSW and shows a staggering disregard for the customers it serves,” NRLA Chief Executive Ben Beadle said.
“Many firms, including us, are finding it really difficult to recruit people in the current environment, but they adapt and plan – they don’t shut up shop.
“Given a new tenancy regime is coming in December, it does beg the question about RSW’s preparedness at a time landlords and renters most need it.
“This sorry episode is another reason to reform this big bureaucratic and unaccountable beast and make it answerable to the people it serves.”
An RSW spokesperson confirmed: “Our telephone line is currently closed as we do not have sufficient staff to deal with the resource needs across the service.
“We have had to prioritise resources to ensure that the services we do provide are to a good standard and that processing activities can also continue.”
They added: “The recruitment and retention of new staff is an issue across all sectors in Wales in recent months. Be assured however that we are doing everything we can to encourage job applications and to train new recruits as quickly as possible.
“Our customers continue to be able to contact us by email, ‘Contact Us’ forms and post. These communication channels are advertised on our website, answerphone and social media.
The NRLA published its own “White Paper” on improving renting in Wales earlier this year and has been engaging with stakeholders across the private rental sector to raise support for all its key demands – which include greater transparency and improvement in the overall performance of Rent Smart Wales.
The MS for Aberconwy, and Shadow Minister for Housing Janet Finch-Saunders, has recently backed NRLA calls to reform to Rent Smart Wales.
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