Landlords Registration, Landlord Register and Licensing Scheme Let’s Avoid the Scottish Mistakes says LettingFocus

As you may know, a registration scheme for landlords has been proposed for England and Wales for all landlords. Under the proposals, now on hold until after the election, a fee would be charged to landlords who would all be required to register.

At LettingFocus we are not opposed to this as long as the objective of the scheme is (1) solely focussed on weeding out the rogue landlords and (2) is not used as a tax on good landlords with the money raised spent on creating yet more non jobs for civil servants just to administer it.

Scottish Registration Scheme

To see how not to do a landlord registration or licensing scheme, we can look no further than the situation in Scotland where, since 2006, all landlords have been required to register as a landlord before letting any property.

The Scottish Landlord Registration scheme was set up with good intentions – to tackle rogue landlords but it failed in its objectives according to the Scottish Association of Landlords (SLA). So, let’s take a look at some figures put together by the SLA for the lawmakers of the Scottish Parliament.

The SLA found that of the 162,000 applications for Landlord Registration received, only 19 landlords have had their registrations either refused or revoked over the almost four years of the scheme’s operation.

But even more amazingly, NOT ONE of the huge numbers of unregistered landlords who continue to operate happily (despite the risk of fines for not joining up) has ever been referred to the Procurator Fiscal.

Costly Landlord Licensing Scheme

A whopping £16.7m has been spent on this scheme so far. Ouch!

The scheme in Scotland also suffers from wide variation across local authorities in terms of engagement with landlords. At least, the scheme proposed for England and Wales would be different – it would have one single body doing the admin – which is, at least, a step in the right direction.

We should take care that if we must have a landlord licensing scheme in England and Wales, that it is a better thought out one than the Scots have and a lot less wasteful.

MORE ABOUT LETTINGFOCUS AND WHAT WE DO

LettingFocus.com is the home of Landlord Information.

I’m David Lawrenson, a landlord and property investor myself for over 25 years and author of “Successful Property Letting” – the UK’s top selling commercially published property book for the last 3 years.

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Primarily I am a consultant to banks, local authorities, social housing providers, insurers and other organisations – helping them with their landlord facing or buy to let product strategies and services.

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