Who Has To Register?
Anyone who lets a residential property in The Outer Hebrides must apply to register with the Comhairle unless they are covered by one of the exemptions (see below). It is the owner of the property who must register.
Exemptions and Exclusions
Exemptions apply to properties rather than to people. Exemptions include if the property is:
- the only or main residence of the landlord, where there are not more than 2 lodgers
- let under a crofting tenancy
- occupied under a life rent
- used for holiday lets only - should comply with the Furnished Holiday Letting Rules (Opens in a new window or downloads a file)
- Let to Members of the Landlord’s Family Only (Opens in a new window or downloads a file)
- held by an executor for a period less than 6 months
- possessed by a heritable creditor for a period less than 6 months
Further information on exclusions is available at Registration of Private Landlords: Guidance for Local Authorities (Opens in a new window or downloads a file)
How Do I Register?
The easiest way is to Register and Pay Online (Opens in a new window or downloads a file) .
If for any reason you are unable to apply online then you can complete and return a Landlord Registration Application Form (357.5kB) (Opens in a new window or downloads a file) along with the appropriate payment.
Registration is NOT considered valid until full payment is received. Payment must be made when registering online through the website. If you wish to submit a paper application, payment can be made via the Comhairle website's payment portal under Miscellaneous Payments (Opens in a new window or downloads a file), by telephone on 01851 600 502, or by cheque / cash at a Customer Service Point. Please check to see if the Service Point is open and can take payment before making a visit. Forms and cheques can also be posted to:
Consumer and Environmental Services
Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar
Isle of Lewis
Cheques should be made payable to Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar.
Late Application Fees
The registration process requires that a late application fee be applied in certain circumstances. The level of fee represents the amount of additional work required to get a non-compliant landlord to register. If the Comhairle have to make two separate requests to get a landlord to register then an additional late application fee is payable on application.
For existing registrations the late fee will be applied on expiry, encouraging applicants to reapply before expiry. These fees also apply to Joint Registrations.
It is common for the lead applicant to register correctly but there is usually a lot of work in chasing up joint owners to ensure they sign their form and check the compliance boxes online. If you are the joint owner of a property then it is your responsibility to ensure that you register properly as if you do not then you could be hit with a Late Application Fee if we have to contact you twice.
All adverts for properties for let must include the landlord registration number (Opens in a new window or downloads a file) or, in the case of landlords whose application is yet to be determined, the phrase ‘landlord registration pending’. This includes estate agent websites, social media posts, and noticeboard cards.
Reusable ‘To Let’ boards are exempt from this due to the costs for landlords. Where there is more than one owner of a property, only one landlord registration number needs to be included in the advertisement.
Landlords who fail to include this information may be removed from the register. If an applicant awaiting registration does not display this information then their application may be refused.
Where a property is being offered for let or sale the Energy Performance Indicator from that property's Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) (Opens in a new window or downloads a file) must be stated in any advertisement. This includes an advertisement in a newspaper or a magazine or on the internet.
Housing and Property Chamber, First-tier Tribunal for Scotland
If a rented property fails to meet the repairing standard then the tenant can apply to the Housing and Property Chamber -First Tier Tribunal for Scotland (Opens in a new window or downloads a file) for a ruling. Also other parties, including the local authority can apply. The contact details are:
Housing and Property Chamber, First-tier Tribunal for Scotland. Glasgow Tribunals Centre, 20 York Street, Glasgow, G2 8GT, Telephone: 0141 302 5900, Fax: 0141 302 5901
There are a number of landlords that fail to register or renew their registration. Sometimes it can be an oversight and the Comhairle will work with these landlord to get them registered. There are however some that know they need to register but have not done so. The reasons behind the failure to register will be considered as part of a risk based approach to the fit and proper person test. We use a variety of sources to identify these landlords, including:
- Housing Benefit/Local Housing Allowance claims
- Council Tax register;
- Local Housing Allowance claims;
- tenancy deposit scheme information; and
- the electoral roll
Sanctions for Unregistered Landlords
The recent local house condition survey indicates that there a lot more rented properties than those on the register. Whilst some of these properties may be exempt from registration there are still a number of unregistered landlords.
It is a criminal offence to operate as an unregistered landlord and a number of landlords fail to register or renew their registrations. If you are renting a property and are unsure whether you need to register or if your registration is still active please contact the Comhairle. The Comhairle will ensure all known landlords are registered and it will use all its enforcement options, in line with its Enforcement Policy (88.4kB) (Opens in a new window or downloads a file) which include:
- late application fees being applied
- Rent Penalty Notices
- Reports to the Procurator Fiscal
Rent Penalty Notices
If a private landlord is renting out a property without having registered or has let their registration expire then the Comhairle can send a rent penalty notice to that landlord. The rent penalty notice prevents a landlord from charging rent to a tenant or a prospective tenant for a property while the rent penalty notice is in force.
Rent Penalty Notices served for non-registration are normally lifted when a landlord registers. Further information is available from Shelter Scotland (Opens in a new window or downloads a file)
Report to the Procurator Fiscal
This will only be used as a final resort and where all other management action or enforcement methods have been exhausted. For example, when a landlord has failed to make a valid application to register and/or has failed to comply with another sanction.