Review of landlord registration application ‘a fantastic opportunity’ to raise awareness, says CIH Scotland
The Chartered Institute of Housing Scotland (CIH Scotland) has called for all landlords to make clear they are complying with all of their legal obligations when applying to the landlord register and for meaningful enforcement when standards are not being met.
The landlord registration system was established in 2006 and registers are managed locally by councils. All landlords must be registered and have to pass a ‘fit and proper person’ test to make sure they meet the required standards to let properties.
The proposals include increasing registration fees in line with inflation, revision of discounts and some changes to the information that landlords have to provide when they apply to the register.
The proposals also include a requirement for applicants to confirm that they comply with a number of legal obligations. These could include statements relating to the condition and energy efficiency of the property; gas, electrical and fire safety; and legal obligations relating to the tenancy and deposit.
CIH Scotland wants to see all landlords proactively declare their compliance with the law which it believes will encourage higher standards in the private rented sector.
In addition, in its response to the government’s landlord registration consultation the Institute has supported calls for a reduced registration fee for landlords who have passed a training course or are members of a professional body to incentivise voluntary skilling up and has warned the government against a disproportionate fee increase which would ultimately be met by tenants through higher rents.
Ashley Campbell, CIH Scotland’s policy and practice manager, said: “Reviewing the landlord registration application presents a fantastic opportunity to ensure that landlords are aware of and are complying with their legal obligations. Our members are very supportive of measures that will support good practice in the sector. We understand that local authorities are under pressure and that increasing fees will help them to manage the registration process but it will be important to make sure that those landlords who do follow the rules don’t end up subsidising the ones who don’t.
“We need to make sure that landlords have access to the information, advice and training they need to be able to provide high quality homes and services to the 330,000 households now renting privately across Scotland. At the same time, we want to see robust enforcement action taken against those who put tenants in danger by refusing to meet basic standards.”