Landlords Association Scotland
The British Landlords Association (The BLA) is a national membership-based organization that also represents the interests of landlords in Scotland. It aims to support and guide landlords by providing information, advice, and training to help them manage their properties effectively and within the law.
The BLA is a not-for-profit organization that was established in 2017. It provides a range of services to its members, including access to legal and tax advice, tenancy agreements and other important documentation, as well as regular updates on legislative changes that affect landlords in Scotland.
In addition, the BLA organizes training events and workshops on topics such as property management, landlord responsibilities, and tenant rights. The association also campaigns on behalf of its members, representing their views and concerns to the Scottish government and other bodies.
The British Landlords Association aims to promote professionalism among landlords in Scotland and to ensure that the private rental sector operates fairly and effectively for both landlords and tenants.
Here are some of the recent legislations that have been introduced in Scotland:
- The Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016 – This legislation introduced a new type of tenancy called the Private Residential Tenancy, which replaced most types of tenancies previously available in Scotland.
- The Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (Scotland) Act 2013 – This Act introduced a new system of property tax in Scotland, which replaced the UK-wide stamp duty system.
- The Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 – This legislation introduced a number of measures aimed at improving the standards of private rented housing in Scotland, including the introduction of minimum energy efficiency standards for privately rented homes.
- The Fuel Poverty (Targets, Definition and Strategy) (Scotland) Act 2019 – This Act introduced targets for reducing fuel poverty in Scotland, as well as measures aimed at improving the energy efficiency of homes.
- The Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 – This legislation introduced emergency measures to help protect tenants and landlords during the COVID-19 pandemic, including measures to prevent evictions and to provide financial support to tenants who were struggling to pay their rent.
- The Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 – This Act introduced several changes to the planning system in Scotland, including introducing a new system of Local Development Plans.
- The Repairing Standard (Scotland) Regulations 2019 – These regulations set out the minimum standards for private rented housing in Scotland, including requirements for landlords to maintain the property in a good state of repair.
This is not an exhaustive list, and other recent legislations may be relevant to specific industries or areas in Scotland.
Renting property in Scotland
Before you can rent a property in Scotland, you have to register with the local council, which covers the area where your let property is situated.
Registering before you rent out a property, in turn, ensures you meet the minimum legal requirements.
Joint owners (anyone else named on the title deeds) must also register, but they will not be charged.
It is a criminal offence if you rent out your property without registering with a local council. You could be fined up to £50,000.
You can apply for landlord registration online on the Scottish Landlord Register website or contact your local council’s housing department.
Scotland – Exemptions from registration
In some situations, you don’t have to register with a council to rent a property in Scotland. They are:
- Holiday lets
- Houses managed by religious orders
- Houses with a resident landlord
- Houses with agricultural and crofting tenancies
- Letting to family members
- Houses providing care services governed by Care Inspectorate regulation
Scotland HMO license
You need a house in multiple occupancy (HMO) licenses if both of the following apply:
- You want to rent your property out to 3 or more tenants
- None of the tenants is related or part of the same family
If you want to use your home in this way, there are extra criteria you’ll need to meet before the council agrees to register you.
They’ll have to decide:
- If you are “fit and proper” (able) to hold an HMO license
- If the property is managed properly
- If the property meets their required standards
Contact your lender and insurers
Before registering as a landlord, you should contact your mortgage lender and insurers and inform them in writing that you intend to let your property.
Your mortgage or insurance terms may change if you rent out your home. In some cases, your insurance cover may be void if your insurer has not been informed your property is let to a tenant.
Scotland – Your responsibilities as a landlord
You have the following responsibilities as a landlord.
Although your letting agent may be able to carry out some of these duties on your behalf, you’ll still be legally responsible for them.
Any legal action that happens because these weren’t carried out will be your responsibility, not the letting agent’s.
It’s your responsibility to:
- Register with the local council, which covers the area where your let property is located.
- Give the tenant your name and address
- Register their deposit with an approved tenancy deposit scheme
- Give the tenant a tenancy agreement and the correct information notes for their tenancy
- Have an Energy Performance Certificate for the property
- Respect the tenant’s peace and quiet, and give them the correct amount of notice (24 hours or 48 hours) if you want to enter the property
- Meet gas, electricity and other safety requirements
- Make sure you’ve carried out a Legionella Risk Assessment
- Maintain the property’s structure and exterior (including drains, gutters and external pipes)
- Allow adaptations for disabled people, within reason (your local council might be able to provide some support)
- Make sure the property meets the Repairing Standard and give the tenant information on it (this is contained in the information notes which you legally have to give your tenant)
- Give the tenant written notice if there’s any defect in the property or work that needs to be carried out
- Take action to deal with any antisocial behaviour with your tenants in or around your property
- Follow the right legal procedures if you want your tenant to leave
- Consider whether a house in multiple occupancy (HMO) license is needed