Landlords letting residential property in Scotland must register with, and be approved as ‘fit and proper’ by, the local authority in the area of the let property. Landlords letting property in multiple local authority areas must register with each local authority that they let property in.
Registration lasts for three years and a renewal application must be made before an existing registration expires if the landlord is still letting property. Renewal applications can be made within the three months before a registration expires.
Most landlords applying for registration or renewing an existing registration use the online application system at https://landlordregistrationscotland.gov.uk/
Exemptions: There are exemptions from the requirement to register, the most common examples are: Live in landlords – where a landlord lives in the same property as their tenant(s); Letting to a close family member –where a landlord lets a property to their mother, father, sister, brother, son, daughter; Short-term holiday lets.
Before you begin: The landlord application form will ask for your personal details and information about your let property. This information is required by law from anyone operating as a landlord in Scotland. The form will also ask you to confirm that you comply with various legal obligations around letting houses in Scotland.
Being a landlord bring certain, continuous obligations and standards for letting your property. Below we will list the main areas, but be sure to check specific requirements with your local authority.
Fire, smoke and heat detection
- As a landlord it is your responsibility to comply with the repairing standard concerning fire, smoke and heat alarms. In order to comply there should be at least:
- one functioning smoke alarm in the room which is frequently used by the occupants for general daytime living purposes (normally the living room/lounge),
- one functioning smoke alarm in every circulation space on each storey, such as hallways and landings, or in main room if no landing in upper storey
- one heat alarm in every kitchen,
- all alarms should be ceiling mounted, and
- all alarms should be interlinked
Carbon Monoxide detection
- Private landlords have an obligation to ensure that a detection system is installed in all properties you rent where there is:
- a fixed combustion appliance (excluding an appliance used solely for cooking) or
- a fixed combustion appliance in an inter-connected space, for example, an integral garage
- a combustion appliance necessarily located in a bathroom ( advice would be to locate it elsewhere ) – the CO detector should be sited outside the room as close to the appliance as possible.
- If you take a deposit from a tenant you must lodge it with one of the three government-backed tenancy deposit schemes:
- Letting Protection Service Scotland
- Safe Deposits Scotland
- My Deposits Scotland
Rental Property Insurance
- If renting out a tenement or flat within Scotland you will be responsible for obtaining insurance cover for the reinstatement value of the tenement building/ block.
Public Water Supply
Private Water Supply (if not supplied by Scottish Water)
- As a landlord in Scotland you will likely find that most of your properties are supplied by Scottish Water. Approximately 3% of the Scottish population uses a private water supply for drinking water.
There is an additional question for let properties that are not supplied by Scottish Water.
Common Repair Obligations
- As a landlord you are responsible for repairing common areas, for example;
- the ground (solum) on which your building stands (but not always the garden)
- the foundations
- the external walls – but individual owners are responsible for the part of these walls that lies in their flat
- the roof (including the rafters)
- other structural parts of the building such as beams, columns and load bearing walls
- the close and stairs (when they are not mutual)
- staircases in blocks of flats.
Furniture and Furnishings (Fire)(Safety) Regulations 1988 (As Amended)
All upholstered furniture made after 1950 is included within these regulations.
All furniture must be fire resistant and should carry a permanent label to this effect. Any furnishings not labelled as fire resistant must be removed prior to a tenancy commencement date.
There are heavy penalties for landlords that do not comply, which include a maximum of six months imprisonment and a fine up to £5000.
Find out more and see examples of the labels here.