The Landlord Registration Scheme
The Antisocial Behaviour (Scotland) Act 2004 brought in legislation which stipulated that all private landlords letting properties in Scotland must apply for registration with their Local Authority. As a result it became an offence to let a house without being registered, or applying for registration.
The aim of landlord registration is to ensure that all private landlords in Scotland are fit and proper to be letting residential property. The aim of the registration was to help local authorities remove disreputable landlords from the market, protect tenants, and protect communities from the impact of anti-social behaviour and mismanaged property.
Below is a list of frequently asked questions:
- Do I need to register?
- When do I need to register?
- How do I go about registering?
- Which local authority should I register with?
- What information will I need to provide on applying?
- What does "fit and proper" mean?
- What if it is decided that I'm not fit and proper?
- How much of my information will members of the public be able to see online?
- I jointly own a property with someone else, how will that work?
- How will I benefit from registration?
- How much will it cost?
- How long does registration last?
- What do I have to do?
Do I need to register?
If you fall under one of the following categories you may not need to register. However, if you are unsure, you should contact Orkney Islands Council.
I am a landlord letting private rented property
You must register if you are a private landlord letting residential property in Scotland, unless all the houses you let are covered by one or more of the exemptions. Details of exemptions can be found in the Holiday Let and Exemption Information leaflet available in the related downloads section on the left of this page.
I have a House in Multiple Occupancy (HMO) licence
If you hold a licence for a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), you will have already been found to be fit and proper by your local authority and paid the licence fee. You and your properties will still need to be on the register, but this should have been done automatically and you will not need to pay. However, if you let any non-HMO properties, you must register these and pay a fee.
I am an accredited landlord
In Orkney, membership of an accreditation scheme does not entitle you to automatic registration so you will still be required to register with the Local Authority.
I am an agent managing private rented property
Although you are not obliged by law to register, you are encouraged to do so. The landlord whose properties you manage must list you on his or her application, and the local authority will check that you are fit and proper to be acting as an agent. You will therefore have to provide information for the fit and proper test, and a registration fee must be paid either by yourself or by the landlord you work for. You may wish to register independently in order to be able to market yourself to clients as fit and proper.
The Register of Letting Agents opened on 31 January 2018 alongside this register there is the Letting Agent Code of Practice. More information is available in the related links section of this page.
When do I need to register?
You must apply to register before you let any property. If you are already letting, you must contact the local authority immediately.
How do I go about registering?
Registration is simple. You can register online or get an application form from your local authority. There is a link to the Landlord Registration Scheme in the related sites section on the left of this page. A paper copy of the application form can be found in the related downloads on the left of this page.
Which local authority should I register with?
You must register with each local authority in whose area you let property. If you own properties in more than one area, you can apply online to register in all authorities in one application, and this will reduce the total fee that you will have to pay.
What information will I need to provide on applying?
- Your name, address, date of birth and any other names by which you are or have been known (eg maiden name).
- The addresses of all properties you let which do not fall under any of the exemptions.
- The name and address of any agent you use.
- A contact address for queries about the property.
- Information on any relevant convictions or court/tribunal judgements.
- A declaration that you comply with all relevant laws when letting property.
What does "fit and proper" mean?
To be registered, landlords must be fit and proper to let residential property.
Local authorities will make use of any relevant information available to them to reach a decision on whether you are fit and proper. They must take account of any evidence of:
- Offences involving fraud, dishonesty, violence, drugs, firearms, or sexual offences.
- Unlawful discrimination.
- Breaches of law relating to housing and letting.
- Failure to act in relation to antisocial behaviour; or antisocial behaviour by the landlord, the tenant, or at the property.
- Breaches of the repairing standard.
- Complaints and information which come to the local authority’s attention where landlords have not paid their share of the cost of communal repairs or repayments to the property factors.
- Concerns and other information which come to the local authority’ s attention in relation to a property, through its other functions.
The decision of the local authority is a judgement in the light of the totality of information available - there are no grounds for automatic refusal or removal of registration. Local authorities also 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 a registered landlord fails to provide this, they may be removed from the register.
What if it is decided that I'm not fit and proper?
You will not be allowed to register but the local authority may advise you on how to address any issues so that you can be registered. There is a right of appeal.
How much of my information will members of the public be able to see online?
Members of the public will be able to view the register on the Internet. By entering your name, they will be able to see whether you are registered. By entering the address of one of your properties they will be able to see your name, your agent's name if you use one, and the contact address which you have selected for that property.
I jointly own a property with someone else, how will that work?
All joint owners must register. If the other joint owners are members of your family, you should nominate one of your number as the lead owner. The lead owner will pay the full fee; the other joint owners will pay a discounted fee.
How will I benefit from registration?
Good landlords have nothing to fear from registration. Registration will help local authorities to remove disreputable landlords from the market. This will remove the unfair competition of landlords who provide poor housing or inadequate management. Contact details can be found at the bottom of this page.
How much will it cost?
A principal fee (per landlord) for registering of £55, plus £11 for each property. You may be eligible to pay a discounted fee if you fall into one of the following categories:
- Have an HMO licence.
- Joint own a property with a family member.
There is also an additional penalty fee of £110 which is added automatically to registrations who have not renewed prior to the expiry date of their registration.
When a landlord notifies a local authority later that they have now appointed an agent (only where the agent is not registered in their own right) the local authority can charge the landlord the principal fee to carry out the fit and proper person test.
If you apply online to more than one local authority in a single transaction, you will receive a discount on the principal fee for all except the first authority.
An extra £11 will be payable on each property which you own. Agents do not have to pay a fee for properties they manage.
How long does registration last?
Registration lasts for three years from the date your application is approved by the local authority. After three years you will have to apply to renew your registration. A renewal fee will be charged which is currently the same as the application fee.
You must inform the local authority as soon as possible if any of your details change, including your list of properties or the agents you use, during the three-year registration period. From 31 August 2011 it is an offence if a landlord does not notify the local authority if they appoint an agent. The maximum penalty for this offence is £1,000.
What do I have to do?
1. Complete registration form or apply online.
2. Pay fee.
3. Reply to any queries from the local authority.
4. Sign and return printed application details received from the local authority.
5. Receive confirmation of registration from the local authority (valid for three years).
6. Notify any changes as they occur.
7. Three years later, renew your registration when instructed to do so by your Local Authority.