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Landlord, Registration

Private Landlord Registration

From April 2006, under The Antisocial Behaviour etc. (Scotland) Act 2004 it has been a legal requirement that all private landlords register with the Local Authority in which they are renting property. The aim of registration is to improve standards for the sector and remove the worst landlords.  Legal obligations as a landlord.

You must register your own details and details of any property you are letting. Failure to register is a criminal offence and will disqualify an individual, organisation and/or agency from acting as a landlord. Please note, registration is NOT considered valid until full payment is received. 

How do I register?

You can apply on the Landlord Registration website.  Please note fees are payable at the time of application and must be made electronically.  

Download a copy of the Landlord Registration Application Form. 

IMPORTANT!  Please do not use the address of the property you are intending to rent out as your contact address. This will result in any correspondence we send to you being returned marked addressee has gone away.

Landlord Registration Update – Changes to Fees

The Scottish Government Fees and Charges for Landlord Registration have now been increased as follows:

Principal Fee £65

Property Fee £15 (per property)

Late Application Fee £130

Discounts are available for:

  • Landlords who own properties in more than one local authority area, where their applications are linked
  • Joint owners where a lead owner has already paid the principal fee
  • Landlords who have a current House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) licence
  • Registered Scottish charities
  • All discounts are automatically applied to online applications

If your application is due for renewal please ensure you renew on or before the expiry date to avoid a Late Application Fee. The Registration system issues reminders by email at 90 and 30 days prior to expiry, so please ensure your email address is correct. Please also ensure junk mail or spam folders are checked at regular intervals.

What happens after I am registered?

Once your registration is approved, it will be valid for three years from the approval date. You will receive an approval letter by email. The approval letter is the most important document you will receive as it is proof you hold a valid registration.  It is good practice to record your landlord registration number and the expiry date in your phone or computer's calendar for future reference.  If you use an agent to manage your property you should provide them with a copy of your registration number for their records. The registration number is purely a reference number and NOT proof of valid registration.

In accordance with the Legislation for the Regulation of Private Landlords under the Antisocial Behaviour etc. (Scotland) Act 2004 all landlords have a legal obligation and responsibility to maintain their registration details and keep them current at all times. They must also notify the Local Authority (in writing or by email) of any change in circumstance (e.g. change of address, adding or deleting properties, no longer practicing as a landlord). Failure to do so is an offence under the act.

It is the Local Authority's legal obligation to maintain the Register and to provide advice and assistance relevant to the registration scheme. It is not the Local Authority's responsibility to maintain landlords' registration details.

Renewal of registration

Please ensure you keep all of your details up to date, especially your email address, as you will be sent a reminder by email prior to the renewal date.  You are required to renew your registration on or before the expiry date in order to enable you to continue letting legally; failure to renew whilst still letting properties will lead to non-registration and sanctions being imposed.

The system generates a Late Application Fee of £130 automatically at the expiry date.  You can renew your registration with the Scottish Landlord Register up to 3 months in advance of the expiry date or request a paper renewal by contacting us.

You are required by legislation to inform the Local Authorities, to which you have applied, of any changes to your registration details particularly the sale or purchase of rental properties, your contact address, telephone number and e-mail address, if applicable.  You can make these changes at Landlord Registration using your registration number, name and date of birth.  You will then receive a temporary code by email to allow you to access your details.  Please note the code is valid for 30 minutes.  If you don't use it in that time you must request a new code.

Register of Letting Agents

Everyone carrying out letting agency work needs to apply to join the Scottish Letting Agent Register by 1 October 2018 if they want to continue doing it. The register is run by the Scottish Government.

From 1 October 2018 it will be against the law for a business to carry out letting agency work without having applied for registration.

Before they can add them to the register, Scottish Ministers will have to decide whether the people in charge of a business applying to the register are 'fit and proper' persons to carry out letting agency work. Certain key people working in the business also need to have had a minimum standard of training.

To decide if someone is a 'fit and proper' person, Scottish Ministers will consider a range of information about that person including whether they have been convicted of offences involving fraud, violence, drugs, firearms, sexual offence or broken housing law.

Once the register is fully up and running, you will be able to check if the letting agent you use (or are thinking of using) is allowed to carry out letting agency work.

If they're a registered letting agent, they'll have a unique letting agent registration number that they must put on all their communications and advertising. You'll use this number to check whether they're registered.

If you have a problem with your letting agent

If you're a landlord and you have a letting agent managing your property, there are a number of things you can do if you aren't happy with their work.

Check your contract

The first thing you should do is look at the 'terms of business' or business contract you have with your letting agent.

This should give details of the agreement you made with your agent on how they'll manage your property.

It will explain the services the agent will carry out for you, as well as how much authority they have to act on your behalf without checking with you first.

If there's a certain part of your letting agent's services you're unhappy with, you may want to ask them for their policy or procedure for that specific service.

Check the Code of Practice

Your letting agent has to follow the Letting Agent Code of Practice from 31 January 2018.

If you aren't happy with the way they're carrying out certain work on your behalf, check what the Code of Practice says about that service.

If your agent has failed to do what the Code of Practice says is required of them, you can make a formal complaint.

Make a formal complaint

You can make a formal complaint to your letting agent if you believe they've failed to either:

  • do what they agreed to in their 'terms of business' or business contract, or
  • follow the rules of the Letting Agent Code of Practice

The Code of Practice says that all agents must have a written complaints procedure. If you don't know your agent's procedure, they should be able to give you it.

Your complaint should be in writing, and you will need to give the agent a reasonable amount of time to respond.

Apply to a housing tribunal

If you think your letting agent has broken the rules of the Code of Practice and you can't resolve the problem with them (or they don't respond within a reasonable time), you can take your complaint further.

You can do this by making an application to the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber). 

The Tribunal is a legal body that looks at disputes between landlords and tenants when a lettings agent doesn't meet the standards of the Code of Practice.  More information on applying to the Housing and Property Chamber is available on the Tribunal website.

Letting agents must have applied to join the Register by 1 October 2018 to continue to operate. They still have to follow the Code of Practice from 31 January 2018 though, so you can still take a case to the tribunal even if they aren't registered yet.

There's no fee to make an application to the Tribunal.  The Tribunal will be informal and the proceedings will be flexible to help resolve issues.

You don't need a lawyer to represent you – you can do it yourself, or use an advocate or other person to help you. You can also bring along someone to act as a supporter for you – they can, for example, give you moral support, take notes for you or help manage your documents.

If the Tribunal agrees with your complaint, they can issue a 'letting agent enforcement order'.  This instructs the letting agent to carry out a set of steps to fix the problem and make sure they're following the Code.

It's against the law for a letting agent to not follow the instructions of an enforcement order. They can be prosecuted if they ignore it.

The Tribunal will also let Scottish Ministers know if the letting agent hasn't carried out the order. The agent could be banned from doing any more letting agency work.

Get more information on the Register of Letting Agents and the Code of Practice.

As a landlord you have legal obligations in respect of the following:

Energy Performance Certificates

You are required to provide your tenants with a copy of an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).  An EPC is a document which states the energy efficiency of a property based on the standardised way the property is used and provides the property owner with a number of ways in which the energy efficiency could be improved.  The energy performance rating has to be included in any advertising.  Failure to do so may incur a fine of up to £1000.  You can find an EPC assessor at www.scottishepcregister.org.uk

As EPCs are valid for 10 years you can check if there already is one in place for your property at www.scottishepcregister.org.uk

Gas Safety

If your property has Gas including Calor Gas, Natural Gas or similar, you are legally required to have a safety check carried out by a Gas Safe Registered engineer annually. The tenant must receive a copy of the Landlord's Gas Safety Certificate within 28 days of the check or before they move in for new tenants. You must keep these records for 2 years.

Your tenant must allow a Gas Safe Registered gas engineer access to your property to carry out safety checks and, if necessary, repair work.  You should give your tenant adequate notice of the gas safety inspection.

Information on gas safety can be found at www.gassaferegister.co.uk

Electrical Safety

You must ensure that all reasonable steps are taken to ensure that all electrical appliances supplied as part of the let are safe to use.

All electrical works must be carried out by a "competent person". A competent person is defined as a person who holds current membership of an accredited registration scheme operated by a recognised professional body, such as the UKAS approved schemes operated by the NICEIC and SELECT (i.e. a registered electrician. Such electricians work to the UK national safety standard BS 7671(otherwise known as the IEE Wiring Regulations).

You should arrange for a qualified electrician to carry out:

  • A regular 5 year check of electrical wiring circuits and mains board (EICR - Electrical Installation Condition Report)
  • An annual portable electrical appliance safety test (PAT) for any appliances provided by you

In each case, an electrical safety report should be obtained from an approved electrical contractor to ensure equipment or circuits conform to current Electrical Regulations.  Following this advice and taking any action indicated as necessary should help to keep your tenants and your property safe.

Guidance for landlords in Scotland is available from the Electrical Safety Council website.

Fire Detection

As a landlord you are required to make satisfactory provision for the detection and warning of fires.  This means that you must have at least:

  • One functioning smoke alarm in the room which is frequently used by occupants for general daytime living purposes.
  • One functioning smoke alarm in every circulation space, such as hallways and landings.
  • One heat alarm in every kitchen.
  • All alarms should be either mains-operated alarms or tamper proof long-life lithium battery alarms. Alarms must also be interlinked and this can be done via wires (hardwired) or wirelessly (by radio communication).

The number and position of alarms will depend on the size and layout of the property.

If your property is a furnished let then you must also ensure that your furniture is fire resistant and conforms to current Regulations.

For more general fire safety advice you can also visit the websites for Fire Law Scotland or Fire Scotland, where you can obtain details about their home safety check.

Carbon Monoxide Detection

From 1 December 2015 it is a requirement for private rented properties to have satisfactory provision for giving warning if Carbon Monoxide (CO) is present in a concentration that is hazardous to health.

Carbon Monoxide detectors must be installed in all dwellings where there is:

  • A fixed combustion appliance (excluding an appliance used solely for cooking) in the dwelling. This includes boilers, fires (including open fires), heaters and stoves fuelled by solid fuel, oil or gas
  • A fixed combustion appliance in an interconnected space, for example, an integral garage

A Carbon Monoxide detection system is not required in an attached out building or garage where there is no inter-connection with the house e.g. a door. If there is no way Carbon Monoxide could reasonably be expected to find a path into the house there is no need for a detector

Legionella

Landlords have a duty to carry out risk assessments on their water systems in all their properties to source potential risks of legionella. The Health and Safety Executive states that most landlords can assess the risk themselves, but if you wish there are companies that can carry out this assessment for you for a fee.

www.hse.gov.uk/legionnaires/legionella-landlords-responsibilities.htm

The Repairing Standard

You have a legal responsibility to ensure the property you rent out meets a minimum standard of repair for private rented properties – known as the Repairing Standard.

A house meets the Repairing Standard if:

  • It is wind and watertight and fit for human habitation
  • The structure and exterior of the house – including drains, gutters and external pipes – are in a reasonable state of repair and in proper working order
  • The installations in the house for the supply of water, gas and electricity and for sanitation, space heating and heating water are in a reasonable state of repair and in proper working order
  • Any fixtures, fittings and appliances provided by you under the tenancy are in a reasonable state of repair and in proper working order
  • Any furnishings provided by you under the tenancy can be used safely for the purpose they are designed for
  • The house has satisfactory provision for detecting fires and for giving warning in the event of fire or suspected fire
  • The property must have satisfactory provision for giving warning if carbon monoxide is present in a concentration that is hazardous to health

You must inform your tenants about the Repairing Standard before the tenancy starts. If you fail to carry out repairs, your tenant can request that the Housing and Property Chamber consider their case.

Your tenant should provide access to allow repairs to be carried out. Unless it’s an emergency you should give your tenant at least 24 hours notice in writing.

Housing and Property Chamber - Repairs

If your property does not meet the Repairing Standard, your tenant will be able to apply to the Housing and Property Chamber for a decision on whether you as a landlord have breached the Repairing Standard.

Your tenant has to notify you that the work needs to be done and give you a reasonable time to complete the work, before making an application to the Housing and Property Chamber.

Any notification of repairs must be made in writing as this may later be used as evidence if they proceed to making an application to the Housing and Property Chamber. Should you fail to carry out the repairs in a reasonable timescale your tenant can then make an application to the Housing and Property Chamber who will then investigate their complaint.

If the Housing and Property Chamber finds that you have failed to meet the Repairing Standard they will issue a Repairing Standard Enforcement Order (RSEO) requiring you to carry out the work. It is a criminal offence not to comply with a RSEO without a reasonable excuse, and to re-let a property subject to a RSEO. If you still fail to comply with the RSEO the Housing and Property Chamber will formally notify West Dunbartonshire Council and may also issue a Rent Relief Order, which can reduce the rent by up to 90%, and inform the Procurator Fiscal.

https://www.housingandpropertychamber.scot/repairs

Housing and Property Chamber – Right of Entry

As a landlord you have a right of entry to your property for the purpose of:

  • Viewing the condition for the purpose of determining whether the house meets the Repairing Standard and/or
  • Carrying out any work necessary to comply with the Repairing Standard duty or a Repairing Standard Enforcement Order.

You should firstly notify your tenant in writing of the need for access and why it is required. If you are having difficulty accessing the property you can apply to the Housing and Property Chamber for assistance. The Housing and Property Chamber can assist in arranging a suitable date for access and where required fix a date and time for access if a tenant and landlord are unable to agree.

https://www.housingandpropertychamber.scot/apply-tribunal/right-entry

Landlord Newsletter October 2019

Communal Repairs - Missing Shares Factsheet

If you have a complaint about private housing disrepair, you can report this using the Environmental Health issues form.