Sign up to our mailing list and we'll send you a free Kindle edition of the Book Hustle Your Way to Property Success by Paul Ribbons.
All private landlords must apply for registration with their local authority. The local authority must be satisfied that they are fit and proper persons to let property, before registering them.
The system will make sure that all landlords meet minimum standards and will remove the worst landlords from the sector. It will allow tenants and neighbours to identify and contact landlords of private rented property, and provide information on the scale and distribution of the sector in Scotland for the first time.
Anyone who owns residential property in Scotland which is let must apply to register with the local authority for the area where the property is located, unless they are covered by one of the exemptions below. It is the owner of the property who must register. In some cases this may not be the "landlord" who has the letting agreement with the occupier.
Owners must declare any agents that they use to manage their property. An agent may be a professional such as a letting agent or solicitor, or a friend or relative who looks after the property, arranges repairs, collects rents and so on. Agents may also register in their own right if they wish. If an agent acts in relation to more than 2 properties, it is cheaper for them to register separately.
You can also register if you do not own any property, to check that you will be considered fit and proper before you invest in property to let.
In some cases the owner of a property leases it to an organisation or person who then acts as the "landlord" for the occupiers. For example, a private owner may lease a house to a company which lets it out to its employees, or to a charity which lets it to people in need. The lessee may also use an agent to manage the tenancy. In these cases the owner needs to register and the “landlord” is treated as an agent. The agent managing the tenancy must also be declared, this will also include “tied” property and sublet property.
The requirement to be registered came into effect on 30 April 2006. It is now an offence for anyone to own residential property in Scotland which is let, if they are not registered with the relevant local authority, or have not made a valid application to register, unless they are covered by an exemption.
It is not an offence to let property if you have submitted a valid application for registration which has not yet been processed by the local authority. An application is valid if you have completed all the required information accurately, and paid the appropriate fee.
If you are searching to see if a landlord or property is registered, please be aware that only approved registrations appear on the register. It is likely to take local authorities some time to process all the applications they receive initially.
Registration lasts for 3 years from the date the application is approved by the local authority.
To be registered, owners and their agents must be fit and proper to let residential property. Local authorities must take account of any evidence that the person has:
In addition to the information provided on the form, the local authority will also take account of any other relevant information they hold about the applicant. They will make a balanced judgement on the basis of all the available information, there is no automatic refusal.
From 31 August 2011, local authorities have the power to require a criminal record certificate when applying the fit and proper person test. Particularly if the local authority has reasonable grounds to suspect that the information provided is, or has become, inaccurate.
If you let property in more than one local authority area, the authorities will share information to ensure they have all relevant details, but each authority will make its decision independently.
If you know the name and address of a person or company, you can find out if they are registered with a particular local authority. The search will confirm they are registered and if there are any properties registered to their account.
If you have the address of a let property, you can find out the name of the owner and any agent they use, and a contact address to get in touch about any problems. The website will show whether there are any repairing standard enforcement orders outstanding.
If you do not find the person, organisation or property you are looking for, please contact the relevant local authority.
The landlord you are looking for may have submitted an application which has not yet been processed by the local authority, in such cases the website will show that an application is under consideration.
The local authority may give out additional information, such as the owner or agent’s home or office address, and addresses of other properties the owner lets, if they are satisfied it is appropriate to do so. Any request for information other than what is available through the website will be considered under Freedom of Information legislation.
Information is exempt from being released under Freedom of Information if releasing it would breach the Data Protection Principles.
You can find out more about Freedom of Information from the Scottish Information Commissioner’s website, http://www.itspublicknowledge.info and about the Data Protection Principles from the UK Information Commissioner’s website, www.ico.gov.uk
The local authority can withhold information from the register if it believes that publishing that information could put people or properties at risk. For example, the register will not identify women's refuges.
The other information that has to be supplied in an application for registration is personal information and will be handled in accordance with the Data Protection Act. You can find out more about the Data Protection Act from the Information Commissioner’s website - www.ico.gov.uk
Each landlord and agent applying for registration should pay a principal fee of £55 to each local authority in which they apply and, in the case of landlords, a property fee of £11 for each property registered.
The following exemptions apply to both the principal fee and the property fee:
Charities receive a 100% discount on both the principal and property fee.
If a property is jointly owned then a 'lead' owner should be designated by the owners from amongst their number. The lead owner will pay both the principal fee and the property fee(s) for each of the jointly owned properties. Any joint owner who is not the lead joint owner is exempt from paying both the principal fee and any property fees for the jointly owned properties. If a non-lead joint owner also rents out properties which are not jointly owned then they should pay the relevant fee for registering these properties.
HMO Licence holders do not pay a fee in the local authority which they hold that licence and for any HMO property covered by that licence.
A discount of 50% is available for applications made to multiple local authorities. Where an application is made using the online system a 10% discount will be provided.
Where an application is submitted only after the local authority has issued two separate requests for an application to be made, an additional fee of £110 is payable.
If you use an unregistered agent then you must pay an agent fee of £55 in order for your agent to be assessed as fit and proper. Please contact your local authority for further details.
You can make a single payment online for all your applications, using a debit or credit card. These payments go to a bank account owned by the Scottish Government, and the relevant amounts are then distributed to local authorities. The Scottish Government does not see the information in your application, just the information it needs about your payment card and a reference number which the local authorities can use to match the payment to the application.