In this three-minute read, we look at the legal responsibilities of landlords in Scotland – and reveal why it pays to let the experts handle the red tape.
Some people say being a landlord is easy. These people are wrong.
Glance through the list of the 175 plus laws that apply to landlords in the UK and you quickly realise there is a lot more to the lettings game than most people think.
They cover everything from tenancies and evictions, to energy ratings, pollution, and electrical safety. It’s a regulatory jungle out there folks.
To stay on the right side of the law, landlords must get their heads around a mountain of red tape. Failure to do so can result in fines, bans or even jail.
We’re not exaggerating
These days tenants know their rights and authorities are not afraid to act. In the past month alone, several landlords have made headlines for all the wrong reasons.
In Coventry, a landlord was ordered to repay £11,000 after renting out a property for eight months without the appropriate licence. While in Poole a landlord was banned from letting or managing property for five years for 12 offences relating to the management (perhaps that should be mismanagement) of a HMO (House in Multiple Occupation).
And this is just the tip of the iceberg. As lockdown measures continue to lift across the UK, the wheels of justice will start to turn again at an even faster pace.
So, expect more cases like this to make the news.
Finding your way through the maze
It’s important to note that the 175 plus laws that we refer to don’t apply to every single landlord in the UK.
Some tax-related laws apply across the UK. Others relate only to landlords in England and Wales. Then there are laws just for landlords in Wales, laws just for landlords in England and, you guessed it, laws just for landlords in Scotland.
Confused? Don’t worry because you’re not alone.
Increase in regulations
The regulatory landscape has changed significantly in the past decade. Many of the changes were introduced with the right intention – to root out the small number of rogue landlords who make tenants’ lives hell.
Unfortunately, the push to clean up the sector has placed a significant burden on all landlords, the vast majority of whom were doing the right thing all along.
In Scotland, for example, new rules came into force last year around the National Landlord Register. Previously the information landlords had to provide when registering was relatively minimal.
Nowadays, much more detail about the standard of the property itself is required. Failure to provide accurate information can result in a fine of £1,000. (And don’t even think about not registering, this can attract a £50,000 fine).
The Covid-19 effect
As if things weren’t complicated enough, the pandemic has added a higher level of complexity, particularly around evictions and rental arrears.
Help I’m freaking out about all these rules!
Don’t panic. If you don’t have the time or inclination to become an expert in lettings legislation, help is at hand.
We can take the weight off your shoulders. We deal with these kinds of issues day in and day out and can save you time and, in the long run, money.
Many people feel property is a safer investment than stocks and shares right now (and we agree with them). With a good lettings’ agent, you can grow your property investment, enjoy peace of mind, and escape the rental red tape jungle.
Here at Scottish Property Centre our experienced team is happy to help landlords meet all their legal obligations. If you have any questions, please get in touch.