What is landlord registration?
Landlord registration is compulsory so that local authorities can keep track of private landlords and letting agents renting out properties in the area. Doing this means it’s easier for councils to make sure houses and flats are suitable for people to live in. It’s the landlord’s responsibility to apply to the local council for registration. The council will carry out checks to make sure you’re a ‘fit and proper person’ to be acting as a landlord.
How does landlord registration work?
Once registered, you’ll be added to the local council's formal register of listed landlords. The registers are held on a central database that’s available to view online.
How do I complete registration?
This can be done online by going to the Landlord Registration website or by completing an application form and sending it to your local authority. You may need to pay a fee when registering.
When you apply, you also need to confirm that you meet specific legal obligations about the state of your property. Your local authority may ask you to provide evidence of this.
What is the ‘fit and proper person' test?
This test is carried out to make sure potential landlords meet certain standards before being allowed to rent out their properties. The council will look at your personal history to identify potential problems. It will look at whether you’ve committed fraud or a violent crime in the past, any evidence that you’ve previously acted as a bad landlord, or anything else that it considers relevant.
How long will the registration be valid for?
Your landlord registration will be valid for 3 years from the date the council approves the application. After 3 years you will have to renew your registration. You can do this on the Landlord Registration website up to 3 months before your current registration expires. You will receive a reminder from the local authority when your registration is due to expire. Note that if you renew your registration after it expires, you may have to pay a late fee.
Are any landlords exempt from registration?
There are a limited number of private landlords who aren't required to register. These include:
potential landlords who are living at the property they plan to rent out, either full-time or most of the time
if you’re renting the property as a holiday home
if the property is part of an agricultural tenancy and is used as a home by the agricultural tenant
properties being let to family members
houses managed by religious orders
houses providing care services governed by Care Inspectorate regulation
Do I need to show tenants that I am registered?
Tenants will be able to check that their landlords are registered by looking at the online register. Government advice is now that all tenants should do this before agreeing to move in or signing a Tenancy agreement.
You’ll also need to include your registration number in all property adverts.
What happens if I don't register?
It is a criminal offence not to register. Once alerted to this, the council will send a rent penalty notice. If you’re charged with committing a crime, you can be fined up to £50,000 and may be banned from being registered as a landlord for up to 5 years.
What is landlord accreditation?
While it is mandatory for landlords to register with the local council before renting out residential property, landlords can also apply for accreditation. Becoming accredited means that you voluntarily join an accreditation scheme and abide by the scheme’s practices and codes of conduct. Being accredited is a way of demonstrating to and assuring tenants that the tenancy arrangement they have adheres to high standards. This may make tenants more likely to want to rent your property, instead of a property from a non-accredited landlord.
You can apply for accreditation by filling out the Landlord Accreditation Scotland application form. If you meet the standards (or are working towards meeting the standards) listed in the form, you can become an accredited landlord.
Note that local councils may offer their own accreditation scheme or work in partnership with Landlord Accreditation Scotland.