Part 8 of the Antisocial Behaviour etc. (Scotland) Act 2004 ("the 2004 Act") placed a duty on local authorities to prepare and maintain a public register of private landlords and registration was commenced in April 2006. As at 31 January 2017 there were almost 268,000 entries on the register, linked to 362,000 registered properties. Since the launch of a new IT system in February 2017, there have been a further 23,000 new applications.
The Scottish Government's Strategy for the Private Rented Sector in Scotland, published in May 2013, summarised the purpose of landlord registration as:
- providing a register of all private landlords for public inspection, with the added assurance that the local authority has conducted a fit and proper person test;
- providing a regularly updated register that can be used to assist dialogue between local authorities and landlords, to disseminate best practice information;
- ensuring that enforcement action is targeted at the worst landlords in the sector, whether that involves dealing with concentrations of such landlords in vulnerable communities, or challenging the practices of landlords in more rural or sparsely populated areas.