Page last updated at 23:44 GMT, Wednesday, 29 April 2009 00:44 UK

Bad landlord clampdown attacked

The landlord registration scheme was introduced in 2006

Rogue landlords are continuing to operate three years after a scheme was introduced to protect tenants, according to Shelter Scotland.

The charity has called for a review of the compulsory landlord registration scheme after it emerged one in four rented properties were not registered.

Director Graeme Brown said there needed to be better enforcement of the scheme.

However, a government spokesman said the scheme was working efficiently and would be evaluated in 2010.

But Mr Brown claimed there were still cases where tenants had been illegally evicted, threatened, or even assaulted.

Landlord registration has to have teeth in addressing the problems of tackling unregistered landlords or there is simply no point in having it
John Blackwood
Scottish Association of Landlords

"Good landlords have paid their money each year to sign up to this scheme based on the promise it would level the playing field between them and the minority of cowboy operators who undermine the private rented sector's reputation as a whole," he said.

The charity has published a three-point plan urging the Scottish Government to look at ways the landlord registration scheme could be improved to drive up standards and get rid of the worst landlords.

It has also called for a national publicity drive to ensure both landlords and tenants know their rights and responsibilities.

And it said local authorities must do more to clamp down on unregistered landlords, and to ensure bad landlords improved their practice.

John Blackwood, director of the Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL), said: "We know of situations where councils are being told of unregistered landlords and quite simply nothing is being done.

"If this continues, landlord registration has the potential to fail because decent landlords will start to wonder, three years down the line, whether there's any point in re-registering.

"Landlord registration has to have teeth in addressing the problems of tackling unregistered landlords or there is simply no point in having it."

'Use powers'

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: "Landlord registration aims to raise standards of accommodation and management and assure tenants that their landlord is fit and proper to let property.

"Approval rates currently stand at 90% - a significant increase from May 2007 when it was only 15%.

"Local authorities are responsible for implementing and enforcing registration, backed up by tough enforcement powers.

"We would encourage all local authorities to use their powers to ensure that the scheme is properly enforced.

"We will evaluate the scheme in 2010 to measure its impact."

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