Landlord Registration Scheme
The new Landlord Registration Scheme comes into effect today with those landlords who have not already registered with their local authority encouraged to do so as soon as possible.
It is now an offence for private landlords in Scotland to let property without having applied to be registered. Landlords could face a fine or have their rent withheld if they avoid registering.
The latest figures for registration show that over 30,000 landlords have applied and have registered over 75,000 properties.
Based on research evidence, it has been estimated that there are around 40,000 landlords in Scotland. Data from the 2001 Census indicates there are around 170,000 properties in the private rented sector.
Deputy Communities Minister Johann Lamont said:
"Registration of private landlords will improve the private rented sector by removing the worst landlords from the market and giving tenants the confidence that their landlord is upholding standards.
"From today, councils can act against landlords who are unsuitable or refuse to register. Already we have seen around 75,000 properties registered, meaning the councils know where the property is and who the landlord is, should any issues arise.
"We know there have been teething problems with the online registration system, and this has meant that some applicants have not been able to use the system at some times. I recognise this can be frustrating, but the fact that so many properties are registered already shows that people are registering and the system is working.
"The register will build up as councils process the applications. It will allow existing tenants to check that their landlord is registered and people looking to rent to check registrations before taking out a lease.
"Anyone who is already renting property and has not applied should use the registration website or contact their council as soon as possible."
Registration of private landlords has a number of aims:
- improve private renting in Scotland by enforcing minimum standards in letting
- oblige those not providing this minimum service to improve, or leave the sector
- allow tenants, neighbours and local authorities to identify and contact landlords and agents of private rented property
- provide information on scale and distribution of private rented sector in Scotland
Under Part 8 of the Antisocial Behaviour etc. (Scotland) Act 2004, private landlords must apply for registration with their local authority. It will be an offence to let any house after April 30 without being registered or having applied to be registered. Unregistered landlords face having their rental income withheld or a £5,000 fine.
To place a landlord on their register, the local authority will have to be satisfied that they are a fit and proper person to let property. The authority can take into account any relevant information including:
- any relevant convictions, particularly in relation to fraud, violence or drugs
- any evidence that the applicant has failed to take adequate steps to deal with antisocial behaviour in his or her properties
- any evidence that the applicant has failed to comply with the law relating to housing or letting, including management, money and physical issues
- any evidence that the applicant has practised illegal discrimination in any business activity
- the fact and nature of an agency arrangement for the management of the property
6. The Executive has set fees of £55 per landlord and £11 per property. The fees are charged to cover the cost of running the registration scheme. Applications online are quicker and cheaper than postal paper applications and offer a 10% discount. Paper applications can also be made by contacting the local authority in which the houses let are located.