1. The private rented sector has grown significantly in recent years and plays a key role in helping to meet housing need in Scotland, with around 770,000 people currently living in private rented accommodation.
2. In 2004 mandatory registration for private landlords was introduced and a duty was placed upon local authorities across Scotland to prepare and maintain a public register of private landlords. Registration commenced in April 2006.
3. Local authorities have the power to decide who can legally operate as a landlord. The current system of landlord registration allows tenants and prospective tenants to rely on the judgement of their local authority as to whether the landlord is a fit and proper person to rent property. Landlords have to provide local authorities with information to demonstrate that they comply with the requirements of registration.
4. In May 2013, the Scottish Government (SG) published its Strategy for the Private Rented Sector in Scotland. The document set out the vision for a private rented sector that provides good quality homes and high management standards, inspires consumer confidence, and encourages growth through attracting increased investment.
5. The Strategy describes the purpose of landlord registration as providing a register of all private landlords for public inspection, providing a regularly updated register and to ensuring that enforcement action is targeted at the worst landlords in the sector.
6. While most landlords aim to provide good quality accommodation and services to their tenants, the available evidence indicates that some landlords are not aware of their legal responsibilities. Furthermore, landlord registration application fees have remained static since 2006 and so a review of the current fee structure is appropriate to reflect the increased expectations on local authorities to administer and enforce landlord registration in a growing market.
7. In March 2018 the Scottish Government launched a consultation – 'Landlord Registration in Scotland: Consultation on a review of landlord registration applications and fees' – seeking views on a requirement for landlords to provide additional information about compliance with legal duties, and on a range of options for increasing application fees. The proposals set out in the consultation paper were designed to strengthen the system of landlord registration in a proportionate way. The consultation opened on 15 March 2018 and closed on 7 June 2018.
8. It invited views on a range of issues including:
- Prescribed information.
- Landlord registration application fees.
- Impact assessments.
9. In total, there were 239 responses to the consultation, of which 80 were from organisations, 64 from self-identified landlords and 95 from individuals.
10. Respondents were assigned to respondent groupings in order to enable analysis of any differences or commonalities across or within the various different types of organisations and individuals that responded.
11. A list of all those organisations that submitted a response to the consultation and agreed to have their name published is included in Appendix 1.
Table 2: Respondent Groups
|Lettings / residential lettings / property management||23|
|Landlord Service Provider / Safety / risk||4|
|Tenants' interests / tenants / Residents group||3|
|Other (e.g. charities / health / professional organisations / manufacturer)||3|
12. As Table 2 shows, the two largest organisation sub-groups were local authorities and organisations involved in lettings / residential lettings / property management.
13. 64 individual respondents identified themselves as landlords and were placed into a separate sub-group in order to ascertain whether they held differing opinions to respondents who did not identify themselves as landlords or other sub-groups.
14. Responses to the consultation were submitted using the Scottish Government consultation platform Citizen Space, or by email or hard copy.
15. It should be borne in mind that the number responding at each question is not always the same as the number presented in the respondent group table. This is because not all respondents addressed all questions. This report indicates the number of respondents who commented at each question.
16. Some of the consultation questions contained closed, tick-boxes with specific options to choose from. Where respondents did not follow the questions but mentioned clearly within their text that they supported one of the options, these have been included in the relevant counts.
17. The researchers examined all comments made by respondents and noted the range of issues mentioned in responses, including reasons for opinions, specific examples or explanations, alternative suggestions or other comments. Grouping these issues together into similar themes allowed the researchers to identify whether any particular theme was specific to any particular respondent group or groups.
18. It should be noted that there are some statements made by respondents that show a misunderstanding of landlord registration, and are inaccurate or inconsistent about the operation of landlord registration. However, analysis has examined all the responses and does not comment on the factual accuracy of any of the answers provided by respondents.
19. When considering group differences however, it must also be recognised that where a specific opinion has been identified in relation to a particular group or groups, this does not indicate that other groups did not share this opinion, but rather that they simply did not comment on that particular point.
20. While the consultation gave all who wished to comment an opportunity to do so, given the self-selecting nature of this type of exercise, any figures quoted here cannot be extrapolated to a wider population outwith the respondent sample.
21. A small number of verbatim comments from those who gave permission for their responses to be made public have been used in the report to illustrate themes or to provide extra detail for some specific points.
22. A number of stakeholder events were conducted as part of this consultation process. Many of the points raised at these events reiterated issues and themes raised within the written consultation responses. Where a different issue or theme was raised at a stakeholder event(s), it is commented on in this report.
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