Private Landlord Registration in Scotland
From 30th April 2006, all private landlords letting properties in Scotland must have applied for registration in the register of landlords, Registration can be completed online at the following website: www.landlordregistrationscotland.gov.uk
The aim of the landlord registration is to ensure all private landlords in Scotland meet specific regulations before they can legally rent out a property. The requirement will help local authorities to remove disreputable landlords, provide stability for tenants and protect communities from the impact of antisocial behavior and mismanaged property. We require your landlord registration number or temporary reference number provided by the local council before marketing your property. Please note you will need to renew your landlord registration every three years.
Energy Performance Certificate
The Energy Performance Certificate confirms the rating given to the energy efficiency of your property. By law Landlords must provide a copy of the EPC to a prospective tenant and display it on advert. Properties are more likely to be given a better efficiency rating if they have double glazing, gas central heating, A+ grade white goods and energy saving light bulbs.
As part of letting your property landlords are required by law to ensure all gas, electrical supplies and appliances are safe to use. Both gas and electrical safety are regulated by the updated Housing Scotland Act.
An annual safety certificate must be supplied for gas appliances or supply by a Gas Safe registered engineer. Appliances include for example the gas meter, boilers, heated water tanks, fires and cookers. A copy of the certificate must be given to a tenant upon entry to the property.
Legionnaires Disease Risk Assessment
Legionnaires Disease is a pneumonia-like illness caused by Legionella bacteria and can be fatal. The infection is caused by breathing in small droplets of water contaminated by the bacteria. Legionella bacteria are found in natural environment and may contaminate and grow in water systems. They survive at low temperature and thrive at temperatures between 20-45C, if the conditions are right. They are killed by high temperatures at 60C or above.
Landlords of residential accommodation have responsibilities for combating Legionnaires Disease. Health and safety legislation requires that landlords carry out risk assessments for the Legionella bacteria which cause Legionnaires Disease and thereafter maintain control measures to minimise the risk. Most rented premises will be low risk, but it is important that risk assessments are carried out and control measures introduced.
The Scottish Government has updated its guidance on smoke/heat alarm requirements for properties in the private rented sector. From 1 March 2019 the repairing standard can be complied with by installing either mains-operated alarms or tamper proof long-life lithium battery alarms.
The guidance stipulates that smoke alarms must conform to BS EN 14604 and heat alarms to BS 5446-2. The guidance can be read in full at:
From 1 February 2021 the current standards for provision of smoke/heat alarms, and for carbon monoxide alarms, in private rented housing will be included in the Tolerable Standard and will therefore apply to all tenures including owner-occupied and social rented sector homes.
Under requirements introduced by the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014, landlords must have carbon monoxide (CO) detectors fitted in their properties by 1st December 2015. From this date landlords must have a long-life battery or mains powered detector in any space which contains a carbon-based fuel appliance (excluding cooking appliances) e.g. a gas/oil boiler, gas/oil fire, wood burning stove or open coal fire. There should also be one in any bedroom or living room which is bypassed by a flue. Please visit the PRHP website by visiting www.prhpscotland.gov.uk for more information.
Fire regulations Relating to Furniture and Furnishings
Under the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (amended 1989 + 1993), specified items supplied during letting the property must meet minimum fire-resistant standards. In practice, items that comply will have suitable permanent label attached. Please note that fire retardant spray is not proven as an effective way of fire proofing soft furnishings. These regulations do not apply to antique furniture or any furniture made before 1950, bedding (including duvets), curtains and carpets.
Electrical Safety and Portable Appliance Test
Under requirements introduced by the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014, landlords must have fixed wiring (Electrical Installation Condition Report or EICR) checks carried out at least every five years or earlier if recommended by an electrician. The EICR report must include an appliance check report (a Portable Appliance Test or PAT). PAT checks are required on appliances provided by the landlord but not those belonging to the tenant. Everything in the property which uses the electrical supply must be on either the EICR or PAT. Anything that is movable and fitted with a plug should be on the PAT report.
New build/newly rewired properties meet the standard provided an in-date Electrical Installation Certificate (EIC) is in place. An appliance that was purchased new less than one year before the date of the PAT check does not require to be tested but it should be listed on the PAT report and the date that the first test is due clearly recorded.
Enforcement of the electrical testing requirements is the responsibility of the First-Tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber). The Chamber can issue a “Repairing Standard Enforcement Order” and ultimately a rent penalty for non-compliance, which is a criminal offence. It is a requirement that landlords use competent electricians and they should be members of SELECT or NICEIC. A full copy of the revised statutory guidance is available on the PRHP website by visiting www.prhpscotland.gov.uk
By law all tenancy deposits must be revisited and paid into a government backed Deposit Protection Service. To claim for any deductions from a deposit we must supply the chosen scheme, Safe Deposits Scotland, with supporting evidence showing the condition of the property at the start and the end of the tenancy, therefore a high standard of inventory is essential. Please note if the property is Let Only, the landlord is legally required to lodge the deposit with a known Deposit Protection Service.
Private Rented Tenancy
By law from 1st December 2017, the new Private Rental Tenancy applies to all new tenancies of residential property. Kingsley Wood have been working in conjunction with ARLA and LAS to ensure we are aware of all the 18 grounds to protect the landlord’s property and ensure we are able to obtain vacant possession through the First-tier Tribunal. The PRT notice period is always at least 28 days for a tenant from day 1 of the lease. The landlord notice period is at least 28 days within the first 6 months, this then increases to at least 84 days thereafter. All tenancy issues will now be reviewed by the First-tier Tribunal which is in replacement of the Sheriff Court, this will speed up the process and make it easier to recover the property from the tenant if served on the correct grounds.
There is no legislation insisting that contents insurance is required, unless the let property is furnished in any way however landlords must ensure that your property is adequately covered in respect of buildings insurance.
Occupiers are responsible for payment of council tax but when the property is empty the landlord is responsible. If the property is unoccupied and unfurnished, full exemption may be applied for a maximum of 6 months. We can apply for exemption for a Landlord on request.
If your property is mortgaged, you must obtain consent of letting from your lender and we may require written confirmation of this.
We provide a full photographic digital inventory of the property including its contents and condition of carpet, walls etc as part of our full management service. For our Let Only service charges apply. Our full inventory will not detail attic voids or cutlery left in drawers. The inventory is completed using high quality software. The quality of an inventory should not be compromised given current deposit deduction regulations.
Our advice is that the property is left in good condition with décor preferably neutral to allow any marks to be easily seen. The purpose of the inventory is simply to allow any necessary deductions from a tenant’s deposit at the end of a tenancy without dispute.
We would ask that all items left are in good working order as the tenant has a right to ask for items to be replaced if they fail to work during the tenancy. The tenants are advised to purchase a suitable contents insurance covering accidental damage to limit any damage liability at the start of the tenancy.
Overseas Landlord Tax Exemption
If you are a landlord living out with the UK, you must apply for tax exemption on the rental income from property within the UK. Each owner/ joint owner must have their own certificate. Kingsley Wood are legally obliged to deduct tax from the rental income until an exemption certificate is produced. Further details : www.hmrc.gov.uk/international/nr-landlords.htm
We recommend leaving instruction manuals for heating systems and appliances as this will limit the chances of a tenant requiring an engineer to check appliances unnecessarily. Any other useful information should be left such as a communal area restrictions and refuse collection information.
If you have a maintenance contract, please inform the service provider to allow your tenant to instruct repairs on your behalf and provide a copy of the policy tenant