Private landlords - are you registered?

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At a meeting of Dumfries and Galloway housing sub committee this week, councillors were given an update on the number of private landlords and properties currently registered with the council.

The number of registered properties has increased from 7,870 in October 2011 to 10,023 in December 2013. This represents an increase in the number of properties registered of around 25% during this period. The number of landlords has also risen from 4,545 to 6,508 over the same period, this represents an increase of around 40%.

Councillor Jim McClung, chair of the council’s housing sub committee said: “We are on a mission to drive up standards in the private renting sector. The benefits of this are plain to see as rogue landlords often rent unsafe properties. Every landlord must ensure they comply with all legal requirements, so if a landlord or property is not registered then it is best to look elsewhere. The increase in registration numbers is, in part, due to the enforcement action we have undertaken and a campaign to raise awareness of the scheme. “

The Antisocial Behaviour etc. (Scotland) Act 2004, introduced on 30 April 2006, requires private landlords to register with the local authority in which the rented property is situated. The Act also requires the local authority to maintain a register of all the private landlords and their properties.

There is a legal requirement on landlords to meet standards in relation to the condition and management of their property at the start of and at all times during a tenancy. Checks are carried out and we use information from other agencies to ensure that these requirements are complied with and the worst landlords are removed from the sector. The register also allows tenants and neighbours to clearly identify and contact landlords of private rented property.

If there are doubts over a landlord’s suitability to be included on the register, the council’s licensing panel will make the final decision. The panel has heard seven cases and of those four registrations have been refused, one has been revoked and two have been granted subject to conditions. These outcomes clearly demonstrate the Council has robust, and effective, decision making processes in place and a willingness to tackle those who fail to meet the required standards.