June 2019 – Landlord Registration Expansion

Author: Mitchells Roberton
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Duty to register 

  • Virtually all private landlords must first register as a landlord with each local authority in whose area they let property. That includes everyone named on the title deeds. Failure to do so is a criminal offence and can result in a fine.

Current application form questions & declarations

  • You can apply for landlord registration online on the Scottish Landlord Register website, or you can contact your local council’s housing department. More information can be found here.
  • At present, the Glasgow City Council (for example) Application for Landlord Registration form runs to 15 pages and asks a whole load of questions generally designed to determine whether the applicant is a “fit and proper person” to be letting property.
  • The application form also includes a set of “declarations” towards the end including:

“I declare that I comply with all legal requirements relating to my letting of houses.” 

  • There are, in fact, a remarkable number of “legal requirements” to be complied with covering such things as: rents; deposits; displaying the landlord’s landlord registration number and the EPC (energy performance certificate) rating of the property; the “repairing standard”; gas, electric and smoke alarm safety aspects; and more. For more see Glasgow City Council “Summary of Legal Obligations on Landlords” which can be found here.
  • It has been felt that sometimes landlords may be signing the general declaration to the effect that they are complying with all these “legal requirements” without always fully appreciating just how extensive they are.
  • That concern has now prompted new regulations being The Private Landlord Registration (Information) (Scotland) Regulations 2019.

The new Regulations – and expansion of the declarations required

  • The Scottish Government Policy Note for these new regulations (“the Regulations”) says this:

“{The Regulations] expand the prescribed information that must be provided in an application for landlord registration… The overarching aim is to improve standards in the private rented sector. [     ] The policy broadens the prescribed information, requiring applicants to be more explicit about their compliance with existing legal responsibilities in relation to property management and condition. [     ] The overarching objective is to make better use of the landlord registration process to contribute towards raising housing standards in the Private Rented Sector to provide good quality housing for all tenants.” 

  • The Regulations won’t have effect until 9 a.m. on 16th September 2019. Applications for registration as a landlord received by a local authority before 9 a.m. on 16th September will continue to be processed under the old rules. But from then on the application for landlord registration will be a rather more daunting undertaking than it is at present.
  • Once the Regulations have effect, the application will have to include not only all the information currently required (under section 83 of the Anti-Social Behaviour etc (Scotland) Act 2004 and the Private Landlord Registration (Information and Fees) (Scotland) Regulations 2005) but, in addition, instead of the general declaration that the landlord complies with “all legal requirements relating to my letting of houses” there will be a whole series of declarations specifically addressing what those legal requirements actually are.

Examples of specific declarations

  • For example, the Regulations will require:

“A declaration that the applicant complies with other legal requirements relating to their lettings which should include confirmation whether or not each property specified by the applicant … meets—

(a) the tolerable standard as defined in section 86(1)  of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987,

(b) the repairing standard as defined in section 13  of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 where such house is subject to that standard under section 12 of that Act,

(c) the requirements set out in regulation 36  of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, and

(d) where the property has a private water supply, the requirements set out in the Water Intended for Human Consumption (Private Supplies) (Scotland) Regulations 2017. 

  • That is but one example. There are many others including in particular:

“Information from the applicant relating to the legionella risk assessment conducted in accordance with the Health and Safety Executive’s Approved Code of Practice … and details of any necessary steps taken by the applicant…  as a result of that assessment. 

Council “Private Landlord Support Officer” 

  • Glasgow City Council has a Private Landlord Support Officer whose remit is to work with Private Landlords and offer advice and assistance. Other local authorities may have similar officers. One suspects they will be busy when the Regulations come into force. 

Note: This material is for information purposes only and does not constitute any form of advice or recommendation by us. You should not rely upon it in making any decisions or taking or refraining from taking any action. If you would like us to advise you on any of the matters covered in this material, please contact Euan David: email efd@mitchells-roberton.co.uk

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