This month a Scottish landlord was struck off the rental register.
An Edinburgh man, who had applied to rent out a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), became the first person to be removed from the register following a decision of the City of Edinburgh Council’s Regulatory Committee.
Councillors were told that the man had kept his previous criminal convictions from the Committee, and that he had continued to operate an HMO despite not having a licence. Gavin Barrie, the councillor who convenes the Committee, said the Council would take “firm action” against ‘rogue’ landlords.
“Edinburgh is open for all landlords who manage their properties and ensure that they are in good condition and that tenants can be safe and secure,” Mr Barrie said.
“I would encourage everyone seeking to rent privately to check the landlord register to ensure that their prospective landlord is registered.”
Local authorities in Scotland saw their licensing powers expanded in 2006, thanks to the Housing (Scotland) Act. Landlords now run the risk of a fine of up to £50,000 if they are found to be operating an unlicensed HMO.
Registration is compulsory for landlords in Scotland. Prospective landlords must pass a ‘fit and proper persons’ test before their licence is approved. Registration currently costs £55 per local authority, with an additional charge of £11 per property. Prospective landlords can register through the Landlord Registration Scotland site.
At present, Scotland is the only part of the UK in which registration is compulsory. There have, however, been rumblings about the potential introduction of similar schemes elsewhere. The Welsh government introduced a White Paper last month that seems to presage the introduction of a compulsory registration, and similar proposals featured in many of the London Mayoral candidates’ manifestos.
If you are unsure about your legal obligations, it is important that you seek independent advice.