1.1 This guidance is intended to assist private landlords in their duty to comply with the Repairing Standard at the start of a tenancy and at all times during a tenancy. This guidance applies from 1 March 2024.
1.2 The guidance will also be of use by tenants as a point of reference and to others who are actively involved in the renting of privately owned living accommodation in Scotland including local authorities, letting agents, and the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber) (FTT) who each have a distinctive role in the private renting process.
1.3 Local authorities have a duty to prepare and maintain a register of private landlords operating in their council area. Only those landlords that have been assessed by the local authority as being fit and proper should be entered on the register. Local authorities should consider how landlord registration can be used alongside other legislation to drive improvements in landlord practice or tackle illegitimate landlord businesses.
1.4 Section 85 of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2004 is clear about the types of material that local authorities must have regard to when undertaking the fit and proper person test. In addition to evidence of specific offences, there is provision for authorities to take into account any contravention of the law relating to housing or landlord and tenant law. There is also provision for any other relevant material to be taken into account such as the landlord's duty to comply with the Repairing Standard at the start of a tenancy and at all times during a tenancy.
1.5 Landlord registration gives local authorities an effective means of dealing with the worst performing landlords who, by their behaviour and attitude, mismanage their properties, or fail to act in respect of anti-social tenants, and fail to meet the Repairing Standard which can be the cause of misery for their own tenants, other tenants, neighbours and communities. Such landlords tarnish the image of the great majority of landlords who operate lawfully and would wish to see the negative image the private rented sector replaced by recognition of the vital role they play in a modern housing market. Registration along with the other measures mentioned above, help to improve the reputation, image and professionalism of the whole private rented sector.
1.6 Letting agents operate on behalf of a large number of private landlords in Scotland. Their main role is to manage properties for private landlords; responsibilities can range from sourcing tenants and collecting rent to fully managing the tenancies, including responsibility for repairs and maintenance.
1.7 The First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber) carries out a number of roles including making determinations in respect of rent and repair issues in private sector housing in Scotland.
1.8 A landlord in the private rented sector has a duty to ensure that the house they rent out meets the Repairing Standard. If a tenant or third party (for the time being a local authority) believes that a rented house does not meet that standard, an application can be made to the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber) for a decision by a tribunal on whether or not the landlord has complied with that duty. The tribunal can then order the landlord to carry out the necessary repairs. Various enforcement powers apply if the landlord then does not do so.
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