Registration has a number of aims. The scheme is designed to enforce minimum standards in Private Renting and remove the worst landlords from the sector, it also enables tenants and neighbours to identify and contact landlords. The register provides information on the scale and distribution of the sector in Scotland, allowing local authorities to engage more effectively with landlords and tenants.
Download our Landlord Information Booklet for more information
Improving standards - Prescribed Information
Private landlords continue to play an important role in meeting housing need in Scotland, with around 770,000 people having their home in the sector. As responsible private landlords, there’s an expectation that you understand and comply with the legal requirements of letting homes to tenants.
Unfortunately, the reality is that some landlords don’t meet the standards that are put in place to protect people and property.
What is changing?
Information currently available to local authorities when a landlord applies to be registered is limited. Following a public consultation in 2018, the Scottish Government is introducing changes that will require landlords to declare whether or not they comply with specific duties. This will supplement the general declaration about compliance and will provide local authorities with more helpful information to help them decide whether a landlord should be approved or not. Subject to the Parliamentary process, the change will come into force on 16 September 2019.
Why is this happening?
The overarching purpose of the change is to make better use of the landlord registration process to contribute to improving standards across the private rented sector. Asking for more information about compliance at the point of application will:
- raise awareness about landlord responsibilities;
- identify where further advice or support for landlords may be required;
- ensure that local authorities are better informed to carry out the fit and proper person test;
- improve confidence that anyone who is approved and entered onto the register is a suitable person to let houses.
How will this be enforced?
These changes are a starting point for improving practice in the private rented sector, based on an assumption that the majority of landlords want to provide well managed, good quality and safe homes for their tenants. The Scottish Government is working with local authorities to develop a good practice approach to scrutinising and validating the information that landlords provide. For example, landlords may be asked to provide evidence of compliance as part of a sample check of applications.
Improving compliance at the point of application will help to address any issues at an early stage and reduce the need for local authorities to intervene later on. Enforcement activity can then be targeted at those landlords who deliberately operate outside the law and really bring the sector into disrepute.
How does this affect you?
The new application journey will include questions about the following obligations:
- the Tolerable and Repairing Standards
- fire and carbon monoxide safety
- gas and electrical safety
- private water supplies and legionella risk assessment
- energy performance certificates
- insurance and common repairs on tenement property
The revised online application journey is still under development, using landlord feedback to ensure that the process is straightforward and the questions are easily understood. Signposting to further information will be included to help landlords who are not sure what they need to do. Provision will be made for landlords to declare if a specific duty doesn’t apply.
It’s important to note that there are no new duties for landlords and so this change should have a minimal impact on those who already meet the existing standards.
If you are not sure that you meet your landlord responsibilities you should seek further information. Many local authorities have developed checklists for private landlords (and tenants) so you may want to check out your Council’s website.