Landlord Registration – a Scottish perspective

David Kendall NLA Scotland

Four years ago all Scottish Landlords were required to register their properties with the local authority.  We were told this would root out bad landlords, improve the image of the private-rented sector, give good landlords a marketing advantage…the list goes on.

Being an organised sort of guy I was quick off the mark, did it all online and paid my bill direct to the  Scottish Government.  Unfortunately, my fees were not passed on to the three local authorities in which I operate. The poor councils got very angry and came after me instead of the Government.  ‘Give us yer money’ they yelled, ‘or no more being a landlord!’  Well that upset me, and after a lot of phone calls, e-mails and letters the mess was eventually sorted – just in time for re-registration!

Oh, and by the way, none of my tenants have ever asked me if I am registered. I think they prefer a decent kitchen, a comfy sofa, a good location…surprise, surprise.

And here’s the real killer: there have been no prosecutions for landlords who fail to register.

It has been an administrative nightmare for local authorities who have needed to recruit extra staff to cope with the workload.

The system feels more like another tax for landlords.

But the really stange thing about this is that Gordon Brown and his friends think this system is so good it should be introduced in England as well.  Now Gordon, you know there are some great traditions North of the Border which the Scots have exported to the rest of the world.  But to suggest that landlord registration can join the list alongside whisky, shortbread, haggis, kilts…

4 thoughts on “Landlord Registration – a Scottish perspective

  1. Isn’t this just the start? The government want to know just who exactly lives in the country, ie who they can regulate and tax. Landlords, hoteliers, publicans, shop-keepers, schoolteachers and other mostly respectible citizens are all in line. E-Domesday Book no less.
    Creating databases of drunks, mischiefmakers and other non-compliant citizens who need help with living agreeably in society is much harder work and less rewarding.

  2. So landlords are to be treated like paedophiles as it well know that they are a unsavoury group who given the chance will interfere with their vulnerable tenants and need to be put on a list and closely monitored .They are certainly not providers of a social service by the provision of much needed permanent and semi permanent accommodation facilitating employment mobility and consequential economic growth
    The answer is non compliance make it expensive for them!

  3. No wonder David can’t advocate landlords being registered in England based on his experience in Scotland but having said that we need landlords to be registered here for a number of reasons.

    The resistance to the idea of licencing continues but it only comes from the landlord trade bodies and in turn this represents a small minority of landlords that are actually operating.

    I’m sure that if there were a couple of private tenant organisations operating in the same way, we would hear vociferous support of the proposed register.

    I have written on a number of occasions as to how this lack of licencing doesn’t just concern the PRS but impacts onto the residential management sector. On my development of 22 flats we have individual leaseholder landlords, their letting agents, two local authorities and their agents and with no individual landlord compelled to provide information, we have sometimes ended up being unaware other managing elements have been brought into the mix.

    We have to find out information piecemeal if we can find it at all with landlords often hiding behind letting agents and local authorities allowing landlords to hide behind Data Protection. This is despite the fact that the Information Commissioners Office advised me that information cannot be withheld if the request for it is reasonable. Leasehold flats are often sold incorrectly resulting in the management company and its agents sometimes not even knowing there has been a change of hands!

    It also comes to something when we find ourselves increasingly involved in tenant issues because they don’t know who their own landlord is!

    All we need is a solid platform from which to work, which the proposed register will provide. It is becoming an increasingly essential requirement especially as you consider that the social sector continues to rely heavily on the private sector to meet its housing needs.

    Please lets end the fragmentation of the PRS and remember that the issue here is of landlord visibility!!

    Kind Regards
    Sharon Crossland AIRPM
    Leasehold Life

  4. Renting a property is a perfectly legal act between two consenting adults. Why, oh, why, does this perfectly legal, day-to-day activity need to be monitored and controlled by the state? With the associated vast expense and inefficiency that will result, not to mention another intrusive database. I cannot believe that everyone is so sheeplike as to have been hoodwinked into believing that state interference is a good thing. Are we living in the USSR or what? Registration means another insecure database, and one’s private details available to all and sundry, and is simply over the top for most of the private rented sector. There are plenty of laws out there to protect both parties involved in a private rental. If only the lawyers and legal system would stop being completely useless at serving the public who employ them, we would all be better off.

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