PART 5: FEES AND DISCOUNTS
The fee structure for landlord registration is laid out in the following regulations:
- The Private Landlord Registration (Information and Fees) (Scotland) Regulations 2005,
- The Private Landlord Registration (Information and Fees) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2006 and
- The Private Landlord Registration (Information and Fees) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2008 12 .
The key elements of the fee structure are:
- the principal fee
- additional fees for properties
- agent fee (where applicable)
- fixed discounts and fee exemptions
This section of the guidance outlines the principles involved in the fee calculation.
Principal and Property Fee
Each landlord and agent applying for registration should pay a principal fee of £55 to each local authority in which they apply and, in the case of landlords, a property fee of £11 for each property registered.
Various discounts and exemptions apply and these are detailed below.
The following exemptions apply to both the principal fee and the property fee.
• Charities 13
Registered charities are exempt from paying both the principal fee and property fee although they are still required to register. This means that charities receive a 100% discount.
A late application fee of £110 can still be applied to a charity if they fail to make a valid application for registration following two requests from the local authority.
• Joint Owners 14
If a property is jointly owned then a 'lead' owner should be designated by the owners from amongst their number. The lead owner will pay both the principal fee and the property fee(s) for each of the jointly owned properties. Any joint owner who is not the lead joint owner is exempt from paying both the principal fee and any property fees for the jointly owned properties. If a non-lead joint owner also rents out properties which are not jointly owned, then they should pay the relevant fee for registering these individual properties.
The discount for joint owners also applies to members of an unincorporated trust. Members of the unincorporated trust are all required to apply for registration (as they are not a single legal entity they cannot apply for registration as one). However, the joint owner discount will apply to any such applications.
• HMO Licence Holders 15
Where an application is submitted by a person who holds an HMO licence in the local authority to which the application is being made, that person will be exempt from paying either the principal fee or the property fee (unless any non- HMO properties are contained within the application at which point a property fee will be payable).
• Applications made to multiple local authorities 16
Where a new or renewal application is made to more than one local authority, at the same time, using the online system, a discount of 50% of the principal fee will be provided in each case. This means that the applicant will pay £27.50 to each local authority in which they apply for registration.
Where a landlord has applied for registration or is registered in one authority and subsequently applies for registration in another authority or renews their application in one authority, using the online system, the subsequent application or renewal will receive a 50% discount on the principal fee. This means they will pay £27.50 for each of the subsequent applications. This will enable the multiple area discount to be applied at the point of registration renewal.
• Online Discount 17
Where an application is made using the online system a 10% discount will be provided. This discount does not apply: where no fee is due (for example, when an application is submitted by a charity) and to the additional fee payable in respect of late applications.
Additional Fee - Late Application 18
Where an application is submitted only after the local authority has issued two separate requests for an application to be made, an additional fee of £110 is payable.
Agent Fee 19
Agents can apply for registration in their own right although it is not compulsory for them to do so. If an agent is not registered or has not applied for registration and a landlord specifies that agent as acting on their behalf in their application, the agent must be assessed as fit and proper by the relevant local authority; the landlord's application may proceed separately and may be approved or otherwise before the assessment of the agent's application is complete.
An agent fee of £55 is charged in order to compensate each relevant local authority for its fit and proper checking activity. It is the landlord and not the agent who is liable to pay this fee.
The agent fee will not be due when the agent is a registered charity, a current HMO licence holder in the area of the authority to which the application is being submitted, a local authority or a registered social landlord.
If the agent fee is due to be paid, regulations provide that a discount can be applied to the fee as follows:
- Where the agent acts for the landlord in respect of property in more than one local authority area, and the application is made to more than one local authority at the same time, using the internet-based application system, a discount of 50% on the agent fee may be claimed. This means that the agent fee would be £27.50 for each local authority.
- Where the agent is registered by a local authority other than that to which the landlord applies, or has submitted an application to such a local authority and has not been notified of a decision on it, a discount of 50% of the agent fee may be claimed. This means that the fee payable to the local authority in which the agent is unregistered will be £27.50. This discount is applicable to both paper and online applications. Local authorities may therefore need to check if an unregistered agent who is specified within a landlord's application is registered or has applied for registration in any other local authority, before determining the fee due.
Please note that the current IT system does not allow a landlord to specify an unregistered agent within their application. The agent fee cannot therefore currently automatically be charged using the online system. This is under review by the Scottish Government and an update to the system will be provided in due course.
The following flowchart has been produced to assist local authorities in determining when an agent fee and any discounts may be applicable:
Payment of Fees
An applicant applying using the online system must pay online by either debit or credit card. There is no invoicing function available. An applicant will be unable to submit their renewal application without first paying the fee due.
The invoicing function is still available for local authorities; however, this is for administrative purposes only - for example, because some local authorities need an invoice number in order to process a payment. Invoices should not be used in the standard practice of collecting payment.
When a paper application is submitted payment must accompany it. Applicants requesting a paper application should be advised of the need to submit their application along with payment for the fee due. Where payment does not accompany an application, local authorities should take steps to address this. This might involve returning the application as invalid (without payment) or contacting the landlord/agent to request that payment is made. An application should not be entered onto the IT system until the correct payment is received. An application is not valid until it has been paid and the local authority may wish to consider taking enforcement action where payment is outstanding if the landlord is letting out his or her property.