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It may come as news to some but if you want to be a private landlord in Scotland, you have to be registered.

That’s right, since 2006 – under Part 8 of the Antisocial Behaviour etc. (Scotland) Act 2004 – (almost) all landlords must apply for registration through the local authority in which their rental property is located.

It’s very simple. To register all you have to provide is:

- Your name and address

- The address of each property you own

- Details of any co-owners

- Details of your managing agent, if applicable

You have to renew your registration every three years and in West Lothian the fee for landlord registration is £55 and a further £11 for each property in your portfolio. What’s more, if you are housing more than three tenants in the same property you will need to apply for a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) Licence.

There are some exemptions to landlord registration. For example, if your property is used solely for holiday lets or if it is your main residence and you house no more than two lodgers/tenants. There is a full list of the more complicated and obscure exemptions, which you can read here.

Once you have applied to register the local authority will decide whether you are a fit and proper person and therefore able to let a residential property. This will take into account any convictions, anti-social behaviour orders, unlawful discriminations or breaches of letting codes, house law or landlord and tenant law.

Those private landlords who aren’t registered could be fined up to £50,000, banned from the registration process for up to five years or served a notice stating rent is not payable on the property for a specified time period. 

The Scottish Government has taken several steps to address the problem of landlords not registering. They have sought to tackle the enforcement problem in a number of ways, not least tying landlord registration in to the process of protecting a deposit with a Tenancy Deposit Scheme. At the point of lodging a deposit with a scheme, the landlord registration number must be provided. In a further attempt to deal with non registration, the Scottish Government has legislated to oblige landlords to include landlord registration numbers on adverts for property to rent.

Despite being in place for almost a decade, there are still many landlords out there who unfortunately aren’t registered. This is the sort of bad practice that all good letting agents and landlords want to rid the rental industry of for good.

You can renew your exisiting landlord registration here.

If you’re not registered yet, you can do so for the first time here

If you’re thinking about becoming a landlord, you can find out how much you could earn in monthly rents using our online free property valuation tool. For informal advice on landlord registration or any additional advice on the Scottish rental market, please contact Letting Solutions on: 0845 520 1420.

What are your thoughts on these regulations? Have any further questions?

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    Surely makes sense that all landlords should be registered, to increase accountability and improve the relationship between tenants and landlords. It baffles me when people are against regulation in the property sector - we have it in every other industry.

    I appreciate that people get very anxious about too much red tape and bureaucracy, but if it reduces the number of rogue landlords and improves the reputation of the PRS I can't really see what the opposition to it is.

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    Very interesting situation. And from reading the piece above it doesn't look like it has caused too much of a problem in Scotland, maybe it could work here....?

    Doesn't look like it will happen anytime soon though after the election result. The Tories don't seem particularly bothered in regulating the PRS - probably cos so many of them are landlords - but that's fine by me, I'm not complaining!

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