Four years ago all Scottish Landlords were required to register their properties with the local authority. We were told this would root out bad landlords, improve the image of the private-rented sector, give good landlords a marketing advantage…the list goes on.
Being an organised sort of guy I was quick off the mark, did it all online and paid my bill direct to the Scottish Government. Unfortunately, my fees were not passed on to the three local authorities in which I operate. The poor councils got very angry and came after me instead of the Government. ‘Give us yer money’ they yelled, ‘or no more being a landlord!’ Well that upset me, and after a lot of phone calls, e-mails and letters the mess was eventually sorted – just in time for re-registration!
Oh, and by the way, none of my tenants have ever asked me if I am registered. I think they prefer a decent kitchen, a comfy sofa, a good location…surprise, surprise.
And here’s the real killer: there have been no prosecutions for landlords who fail to register.
It has been an administrative nightmare for local authorities who have needed to recruit extra staff to cope with the workload.
The system feels more like another tax for landlords.
But the really stange thing about this is that Gordon Brown and his friends think this system is so good it should be introduced in England as well. Now Gordon, you know there are some great traditions North of the Border which the Scots have exported to the rest of the world. But to suggest that landlord registration can join the list alongside whisky, shortbread, haggis, kilts…