17:06 PM, 3rd November 2011, About 10 years ago
Thousands of property investors face fines of up to £50,000 for ignoring laws requiring them to sign-up to a landlords register in Scotland.
No-one is sure how many rogue landlords are ignoring the law – but the worry is they face a double whammy of tax and fines if they sign the register.
The authorities north of the border suspect many are not giving their details to council because they are concerned the information will also go to HM Revenue & Customs.
Council officials in Glasgow reckon around 6,000 landlords are breaking the law in the city, while 25,000 have already joined the scheme.
Landlord registration has been compulsory in Scotland since 2004 – while maximum fines for failing to register increased from £5,000 to £50,000 in August.
Scottish landlords face another legal hurdle soon, as the Scottish Assembly introduces a tenancy deposit protection scheme that follows the one already running in England and Wales.
Landlords who are not on the register will not be able to place deposits in the scheme.
Glasgow Council leader Gordon Matheson said: “The time for excuses from those landlords who have shown no regard for their legal responsibilities is running out. Landlords have known for years that they have a duty to ensure they are properly registered.
“It is completely unacceptable that so many have chosen to evade the law.
“Extensive work has been going on to develop a clear picture of which rented properties do not have a registered landlord listed against them. If landlords do not respond to this call, action will be taken.”
The Scottish Association of Landlords has urged landlords to join the register.
“Failure to register as a landlord can put a question mark against a landlord who is, in every other way, above board,” said a spokesman. “It is an offence not to register, and so people are also putting themselves at risk of receiving a substantial fine.”
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