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Private landlords in Scotland - regulation

Last reviewed 09/04/2014: any recent updates in this colour.

Brief overview

The Antisocial Behaviour etc (Scotland) Act 2004 gives local authorities additional powers to regulate rented housing in Scotland. These are additional to the houses in multiple occupation legislation contained in the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 (please see separate policy page). Under part 7 of the Act, if residents are engaging in antisocial behaviour at their home, and the landlord is not taking normal management action to address it, the local authority can serve an antisocial behaviour notice setting out actions the landlord must take. Under part 8, all landlords and letting agents, apart from registered social landlords and some other exceptions, must register with the local authority. In order to be registered, the local authority must be satisfied the applicant is a fit and proper person. The Act lists various factors which the local authority must take into account in making that decision. It will be an offence to let any residential property without it being registered.

When will regulation be introduced?

The Act gives Scottish ministers the power to regulate on various aspects of how landlord registration and antisocial behaviour notices will operate in practice, and to issue guidance to local authorities. In preparing the regulations and guidance, the Scottish Executive has been keen to emphasise that the system should be as light touch as possible.

Detailed proposals for regulations and guidance have been developed by a working group representing local authority, landlord, agent and consumer interests. These proposals were published in June 2005 in the form of a consultation paper entitled Regulation of Private Landlords under the Antisocial Behaviour etc (Scotland) Act 2004. The CML's response to this is on our website.

The Scottish Executive has indicated that they will analyse all responses received, and it is their aim to publish a report on the consultation exercise by November 2005.

The registration scheme was introduced on 30 April 2006.

Applications for registration

Landlords or their agents will be required to register with each local authority in which they own property which is let out. It is likely that a web-based version of the register will be introduced.

Landlords will be required to provide their name and address; the address of each house which they let in the local authority area; and the name and address of any agent which they use for the houses specified. It is likely they will also need to provide their date of birth, a declaration of any convictions, details of any licence held, refused or revoked in connection with letting houses in the UK, and a declaration that the applicant complies with other legal requirements relating to the letting and the identity of any other joint owner.

Local authorities will be entitled to charge a fee for registration.

Failure to register may result in the landlord being prosecuted or a rent penalty notice being served on the landlord.

More information on the registration scheme can be found at Renting Scotland.

Antisocial behaviour notices

The Act permits a local authority to serve an antisocial behaviour notice on the landlord of a house within its area, if any person who occupies the house the house under a tenancy or occupancy agreement or visits the house is engaging in antisocial behaviour at or in the locality of the house. The notice will define the antisocial behaviour and require the landlord to take specified action within a specified period. Where the landlord has failed to comply with the notice, the local authority can apply to the sheriff for a rent penalty notice or management control order or take action to tackle the antisocial behaviour and pursue the landlord for expenditure incurred in consequence of the landlord's failure.

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