Scottish Landlord Registration – does it work?

Scottish Landlord Registration – does it work?

14:51 PM, 18th May 2017, About 7 years ago 9

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There has been some talk about landlord registration or licensing schemes in England, those already operating and those proposed by politicians. I have properties in Scotland where there is a Landlord Registration Scheme in place.

All landlords throughout Scotland are supposed to be registered. I say supposed to be because I know that many are not. The idea, I believe, is that the Authorities can ensure that only people who are of suitable character can rent property.

Sadly it does not work. If you want to avoid all the legislation and requirements currently in place you simply don’t register. The Scottish Authorities seem to be either unable or unwilling to enforce this registration. For those in England I will point out that the cost of registering varies from county to county, but for the county I rent in is £55 plus £11 per property and lasts for 3 years. This is clearly not as burdensome as some charges I have been reading about for some English counties. I think this registration scheme is like many registration schemes before it. The good law abiding citizens register the the rogues do not.

Some time ago I became aware of a flat that had a leaking roof. The then tenant followed all the relevant Scottish procedure to try to get the landlord to fix the leaking roof. Only a patch up job was ever done and the leak quickly returned. He lived with constant damp and mould. Eventually he moved out, but not before the property was subjected to a works order that required the landlord to address the problem properly.

Until the work was done the property could not be let. The property then sat empty for a year. Then a ‘to let’ sign appeared. It was clear to the original tenant that the work on the roof had not been done. He lived in a flat with a view to his old flat. He contacted the council. The ‘to-let’ sign was removed and a for sale sing took its place.

A short while after this a young couple moved in, telling all their neighbours that they had bought this flat. I then happened to come across the flat listed for sale – with tenants in situ. The landlord was not registered and this fact was mentioned to the local council responsible. A registration pending then appeared, then disappeared. Several months on and the flat still has the tenants in place. It is still for sale as a tenanted flat. The work on the roof has still not been done.

I tell this story to show that rogue landlords can and will still operate in a rental market requiring registration. That even when authorities are informed little seems to happen.

Scottish laws are already in place that provide substantial protection for the tenant. Those tenants suffering from bad landlords and the sympathetic politicians and media should look toward those who should be upholding those laws and not attacking the law abiding decent landlords. Increasing the laws and regulations will not change anything if no-one is prepared to enforce them.

As certain sectors of society find it harder and harder to find accommodation the prevalence of unregistered landlords will, I believe, increase. But that is probably another big topic in itself.

I would be interested to hear peoples views on this. I don’t have vast experience as a landlord, but am interested in the twists and turns of the rental market now and the changes that may or may not come along.


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11:03 AM, 20th May 2017, About 7 years ago

Yes Lisa, the Scottish registration system is not overly expensive, and if it worked, few would grudge paying up. Since we started letting in 2006, the amount of regulation has increased exponentially, and it is hard to imagine how tenants could be given any more protection under the law without offering them right to buy, which has also been suggested. However, as you rightly report, anyone who chooses to completely disregard the rules, can confidently expect to get away with it almost indefinitely. The whole problem for tenants is the failure of the authorities to enforce any of the multitudinous regulations that already exist.

Monty Bodkin

11:27 AM, 20th May 2017, About 7 years ago

“This farcical programme, introduced with the best of intentions, is failing to deliver at a tremendous cost to the taxpayer.”

Chris @ Possession Friend

11:47 AM, 21st May 2017, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Monty Bodkin" at "20/05/2017 - 11:27":

I don't know about tremendous cost to the 'Taxpayer' - but most certainly landlords.

Monty Bodkin

13:03 PM, 21st May 2017, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Chris Daniel" at "21/05/2017 - 11:47":

Taken from the link;
The Scottish Government spent £5.2 million to set up the register.

Also indirectly in myriad ways such as increased rents for housing benefit, gold plated pensions for the council employees, the hidden costs from creating a lettings black market, increased strain on social housing as private landlords exit, etc etc

Pointless bureaucracy doesn't just pay for itself!

John walker

10:09 AM, 27th May 2017, About 7 years ago

In Wales we have compulsory registration of landlords, who then are obliged to register their properties. All landlords had to register by November 2016,
though how successful the scheme has been I have no idea.

Monty Bodkin

10:47 AM, 27th May 2017, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "John Walker" at "27/05/2017 - 10:09":

how successful the scheme has been I have no idea.

Not very, to put it mildly.

Up to the end of last month;
70,000 landlords have registered in Wales.
50,000 landlords haven't registered.
0 landlords have been prosecuted.

Jireh Homes

20:36 PM, 27th May 2017, About 7 years ago

To advertise a property for rent in Scotland, a Landlord Registration number has to be quoted on the advert (although could be false). Also with the impending Letting Agent regulations all Agents will be under obligation to ensure LL is registered, along with a myriad of other obligations. However rouge LL will still be able to operate under the radar, many TT not aware of the legal obligations and unfortunately limited enforcement. The only consolation is that at present the fees charged are not exorbitant!

Chris @ Possession Friend

17:51 PM, 28th May 2017, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "John Walker" at "27/05/2017 - 10:09":

ALL licensing schemes are UNSUCCESSFUL.
I'm doing some research at the moment that shows in the last 3 years ( with the plethora of new schemes introduced up and down the country ) Actual property inspections have not noticeably increased.
So, the big question I'm going to be asking next in a FOI, is ' What, exactly, is the revenue being used for.

Lisa Notner

12:41 PM, 2nd June 2017, About 7 years ago

In reply to Jireh,
The owners of the flat I mentioned are a company who happen to operate out of the same building as the Letting Agents!! If as a private individual can see what's going on how come the council can't. As I have said, the legislation is there but to no real effect. If the legislation is not being enforced what is the point of it? And as Chris says 'what is the revenue being used for'.
I think the powers that be in England would do well to take a careful look at Scotland (and Wales for that matter) before they embark on a blanket registration scheme.

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