Updates to landlord registration process come into force

Changes requiring landlords to declare whether or not they comply with specific duties have come into force with effect from today.

The Scottish Government announced the changes in response to the failure of some landlords to comply with the legal requirements of letting homes to tenants.

The government has said that information currently available to local authorities when a landlord applies to be registered is limited. It said that such changes will supplement the general declaration about compliance and provide local authorities with more helpful information to help them decide whether a landlord should be approved or not.

The new changes will see questions included in the application about the following obligations:

  • The Tolerable and Repairing Standards
  • Fire and carbon monoxide safety
  • Gas and electrical safety
  • Private water supplies and legionella risk assessment
  • Energy performance certificates
  • Insurance and common repairs on tenement property

The dominant purpose of the change is to make better use of the landlord registration process to contribute to improving standards across the private rented sector.

The Scottish Government said asking for more information about compliance upon the point of application will raise awareness about landlord responsibilities, identify where further advice or support for landlords may be required, ensure that local authorities are better informed to carry out the fit and proper person test and improve confidence that anyone who is approved and entered onto the register is a suitable person to let houses.

As part of the new changes, the Scottish Government is working with local authorities to create a good practice approach to scrutinising and validating the information that landlords provide. For example, landlords may be asked to provide evidence of compliance as part of a sample check of applications.

Improving compliance at the point of application will help to address any issues at an early stage and reduce the need for local authorities to intervene later on. Enforcement activity can then be targeted at those landlords who deliberately operate outside the law and bring the sector into disrepute.

The Scottish Government have stressed that there are no new duties for landlords and so this change should have a minimal impact on those who already meet the existing standards.

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