SB Connect Winter 2016

House rules

The main purpose of this scheme is to ensure minimum standards of private rented property. Properties which do not meet the minimum standards must either be improved or not be rented.

It is a criminal offence to rent a property without being registered, or without having submitted a valid application for registration. The Council can serve a Rent Penalty Notice on any private landlord who has not applied for registration. Alternatively, the landlord can be taken to court for failure to apply for registration and if found guilty can be fined up to £5000.

As well as the need to register with the Council, landlords have a legal duty to maintain the properties they rent to a certain standard at the start of and throughout any tenancy.

The property must be wind and watertight, reasonably fit for human habitation, and:

 

  • the structure and exterior of the house must be in a reasonable state of repair and in proper working order

  • the installations for the supply of water, gas and electricity and for sanitation, space heating and heating water are in a reasonable state of repair and proper working order

  • any fixtures, fittings and appliances provided under the tenancy are in a reasonable state of repair and proper working order

  • any furnishings provided under the tenancy are capable of being used safely for the purpose for which they are designed

  • there is satisfactory provision for detecting and giving warning of fires.

Most landlords and letting agents act lawfully, but there are a small minority of private landlords who do not meet their legal responsibilities.

A Private Sector Enforcement Officer was appointed early last year and, since this officer has been in post, late registration fees have been applied and several Rent Penalty Notices have been served on landlords. 

The Enforcement Officer is continuing to pursue unregistered private landlords and is working closely with landlords and tenants to resolve antisocial behaviour issues, property repairs and maintenance. Most cases are successfully resolved.

Landlords who need to evict a tenant for whatever reason must notify the Council so that anyone under threat of homelessness can receive help as early as possible.

 

For more information

If you are a landlord serving notice on a private sector tenant, please notify the Council in writing to Homelessness Services, Scottish Borders Council, 8 Burn Wynd, Jedburgh TD8 6BY.

If any of these issues affect you, please call the Housing Strategy Team on 01835 825169, visit www.scotborders.gov.uk/housing or contact the Shelter Housing Advice project on 0844 515 2422.