Landlord Registration came into force in April 2006, in terms of Part 8 of the Anti-Social Behaviour etc. (Scotland) Act 2004 which placed a duty on local authorities to maintain a public register of private landlords in their area. Since then the private rented sector in Scotland has continued to grow and the Scottish Government is now holding a consultation in relation to reviewing the Landlord Registration process. In particular, the consultation looks at two specific aspects of the registration process: what information must be included in the application for registration; and the application fees themselves.
It is considered that many landlords apply for registration with their relevant Local Authority without being entirely aware of what their legal responsibilities are in relation to issues such as property condition and repair, certification and tenant deposit retention.
The Scottish Government consultation proposes that when a landlord applies to the Local Authority to register that they must provide confirmation that they comply with the following requirements:
1. The property meets the relevant repairing standards
2. The property meets specific requirements relating to gas, electrical and carbon monoxide safety.
3. There is a current energy performance certificate for the property.
4. Property advertisements include details of landlord registration status and EPC rating.
5. Owners of flats within a tenement are aware of their responsibilities in relation to common repairs and that they have appropriate buildings insurance.
6. Owners of houses in multiple occupation have an HMO licence.
7. Risk assessments for legionnaires’ disease have been undertaken and acted upon where necessary.
8. The implications of renting properties in relation to mortgage, insurance and tax purposes are understood.
9. The tenant’s deposit will be placed into an approved tenancy deposit scheme.
In relation to the fees for making such an application, the fees payable have not increased since their introduction in 2006. The current fees consist of a principal fee of £55 for the application together with a property fee of £11 for each property being let. An additional fee of £110 is levied where a landlord allows their existing registration to expire and thereafter has to reapply again. There is also currently a 10% discount where applications are made online.
The consultation proposes that the fees be devised either by being uprated by the rate of inflation on an annual basis, or by posing a maximum amount of fee to be charged, with the Local Authority having discretion as to what they consider appropriate to charge. Further, where a landlord is applying to more than one Local Authority they currently receive a 50% discount on each online application made to multiple Local Authorities at the same time. It is proposed that this discount is difficult to understand and complex to administer. The consultation seeks views in relation to whether or not a full application fee should be applied when a landlord applies to more than one Local Authority, given that each Local Authority has to carry out their own fit and proper person assessment.
The Scottish Government’s consultation is open until 7th June 2018. The consultation can be viewed and responded to online at the following link: https://consult.gov.scot/landlord-registration/registration-fee/
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