Landlord registration came into force in April 2006 for the devolved nations and was designed to protect tenants against rogue landlords and sub-par property standards.
Landlord registration is the process whereby the local council will hold up-to-date information about private landlords and their properties. By having the details of each private landlord, the aim is to hold landlords accountable for their properties to make sure that tenants don’t have to live in unsafe housing.
With an increasing number of young renters, the landlord registration process was introduced to protect the “rent generation” from having to live in sub-standard property lets. Aimed at landlords that let unlawfully cramped and overcrowded bedsits, it stops rogue landlords from letting property again.
As well as stopping bad landlords, registration also means that tenants can conduct thorough research into their landlords and their properties before signing a contract, making it beneficial for landlords with great properties on offer.
What is classed as being a landlord?
In short, if you rent out property then you are classed as a landlord. Being a landlord comes with responsibilities. As a landlord in England, you will need to:
- Maintain and install gas and electrical equipment
- Protect your tenant’s deposit in a government-approved scheme
- Provide an Energy Performance Certificate for the property
- Conduct due diligence checks to ensure your tenant has the right to rent your property
- Make your tenant is aware of the ‘How to Rent’ advice
- Ensure properties are free of health hazards
What is landlord registration?
Landlord registration came into force to help local authorities monitor private landlords. With an increasing number of private landlords renting out properties, the aim of the scheme is to ensure that the landlord is fit to let out property and the property is up to standard.
What is the landlord registration scheme?
The landlord registration scheme collects and maintains accurate information on landlords and their properties. Not only will local authorities have precise information on landlords, but those looking to rent can check whether the property in question is owned by a registered landlord.
If not, the landlord registration scheme means that tenants can ask the local council to investigate the property and landlord.
The landlord registration scheme does not require landlords to pass tests or undergo rigorous checks, it purely means that landlords with rental properties must meet a minimum standard of housing. If they do not, they face being unable to let in the future.
Do I need to register as a landlord?
Whether you need to register as a landlord will depend on whereabouts in the UK you live and where your property is. Landlord registration is compulsory in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, so any landlord is required to register by law.
In England, there is a slightly different process. Not everywhere in England requires landlords to register, so you will need to check with your local council to see if you need to register.
Although registration may not be compulsory in some councils, you may want to sign up to a voluntary private landlord registration scheme such as the National Residential Landlords Association.
Many tenants who are looking to rent a property will want to learn more about their landlord and whether they are reputable. By registering voluntarily, tenants will be reassured that your properties are of a good standard, meaning they may be more willing to sign a longer contract.
Who is exempt from registering as a landlord?
If you are planning to rent out a property, then chances are you will need to register. However, there are certain exceptions. Landlords of the following properties may be exempt from registration:
- Care homes
- Any property where the landlord also lives there
- Secure accommodation
- Properties used by religious groups
- Farmland properties where a tenant lives on the agricultural property grounds
- Properties where the owner has died within the last six months
- Properties owned by an insolvency practitioner (ownership must be for less than 6 months)
- Boarding school accommodation
- Secure accommodation
- Holiday homes
How do I register as a landlord?
In England, (with the exception of those renting out Houses of Multiple Occupation), you are not required to register as a landlord. As each Local Authority will decide whether you are required to register, you will need to check with the council for details of how to register.
However, if you want to be seen in a good light by your tenants, it is a good idea to voluntarily register as a landlord. Not only will you be able to access advice, but it will also help to prove to tenants that you are credible.
To register as a landlord in Scotland, simply go to the Landlord Registration Scotland website and complete the required paperwork.
Here, you can register as a new landlord, or renew or update your current registration.
In Wales, landlords responsible for letting and managing properties must complete a landlord registration and apply for a Rent Smart Wales licence.
This can all be done quickly and easily online. You can also fill out a paper application if you prefer.
If you are planning to rent out properties in Northern Ireland, you must register as a landlord. To do this, you can either register by telephone, or by email.
Further details can be found online.
What documentation and paperwork will I need?
Luckily, nowadays registration is easily done online through an online portal or via email.
If you do wish to fill out a paper registration, the forms can be downloaded from your local council’s website. However, you may need to pay a higher fee to cover administration costs.
What information will I need to give?
To complete an application, the council will need to gather some personal details and details about the property. They will likely need to know personal details such as your name and address, as well as any convictions, accreditations, licences and Repairing Standard Enforcement Orders that may have been issued to your tenants.
You may also be asked for the following:
- Electrical appliance test results
- Details of fire, smoke and heat detection devices
- A gas safety certificate
- An electrical installation condition report. Alternatively, an electrical installation certificate can be provided
- Carbon monoxide certificate
- EPC certificates
- The results of a legionella risk assessment
- Tenancy deposit details, including which scheme the deposit is held in
- Rental property insurance details
- Public water supply details.
However, full information can be found on your local council’s website.
How much does landlord registration cost?
How much landlord registration costs depends on the local authority. However, in Scotland the landlord registration fee is a minimum of £66. In Wales, you can register as a landlord for £45 if you register online.
In Northern Ireland, online registration is £70, or to complete a paper registration is £80.
If you choose to voluntarily register, then membership costs £75 per year online with the NRLA.
What happens if I fail to register as a landlord?
It may be a criminal offence to rent out a property without registering as a landlord, depending on where your property is located. If you do try to let your property without registering, you may end up landing a large fine.
- In Scotland, you can be fined up to £50,000 and face a ban of five years.
- In Wales, the penalty for unregistered landlords is a fine of up to £250 plus rent stopping orders.
- In Northern Ireland, unregistered landlords may face prosecution and can be fined up to £2,500.
Therefore, if you are thinking of letting out property, it is essential that you register beforehand. If you are in England, you should always check whether you are required to register. If not, it’s recommended to consider voluntary registration.
How often do I have to renew my registration?
In Northern Ireland and Scotland, you must re-register every 3 years, and in Wales every five.
In England, you should check with your local authority to find out whether registration is compulsory and, if so, how often you are required to re-register.
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