Edinburgh bottom of league for landlord registrations

Edinburgh Council has registered fewer private landlords than any other council in Scotland, it has been revealed.

Figures obtained by Green MSP, Robin Harper, in a parliamentary written answer, show that Edinburgh City Council has received over 17,000 applications to register since last April but has so far pproved none.

The next highest authority is Glasgow with fewer than 11,000 applications outstanding.

Under the Anti-Social Behaviour (Scotland) Act 2004 it is compulsory for all private landlords to register with a local authority.  If landlords let without having applied to register then they are committing an offence.  Registration is based on the landlord passing a “fit and proper person” test.

The system went live on 30 April 2006 but has been so plagued with problems that, almost a year on, only 8% of applications to register have actually been approved.

The biggest backlog is in Edinburgh which has the largest private rented sector in Scotland.  In some cases landlords have paid their fee to register months ago but will still not know whether they have a future in letting out their property.

Local Green spokesperson and candidate in Leith Walk ward, Maggie Chapman said:

“Landlord registration was sold as way of  protecting the most vulnerable tenants against the worst landlords.

“In practice, it has become one of biggest un-noticed shambles since devolution.

“Edinburgh City Council urgently needs to get together with the Scottish Executive to unblock the system.

“While the current logjam continues it benefits neither tenants nor landlords.”

ENDS

Notes

1. The written parliamentary question can be found at S2W-31857 – Robin Harper (Lothians) (Green) (Date Lodged 16 February 2007) : To ask the Scottish Executive how many private landlords are registered under the Antisocial Behaviour etc. (Scotland) Act 2004, broken down by local authority area.

2. The answer shows that, across Scotland as a whole, 85,302 applications to register have been received.  Of these 6,794 have been approved, while 78,508 are outstanding.  In Edinburgh 17,469 applications are oustanding with none approved.  By comparison, Falkirk Council has approved half of its 2,062 applications.

3. Compulsory landlord registration was introduced as a late amendment to the Anti-Social Behaviour (Scotland) Act 2004 by Labour backbencher, Cathie Craigie MSP.  From 30 April 2006, all non-resident private landlords are required to submit applications at a basic cost of £55 and more.  The local authority then assesses if they are a “fit and proper” person.  Of so, they are then entered on the register and permitted to let out property.  If a landlord lets having not applied to register or if he or she fails a fit and proper person test it is a criminal offence.