Private landlords – don’t lose your HMO licence!
Landlords in the private rented sector in Scotland must register with their local authority for an HMO licence and must be deemed fit and proper persons. Additionally, where properties are being let to multiple occupants, the property itself also requires to be licensed.
Where a landlord has a number of different HMO properties then the landlord’s behaviour at one property can impact on the licensing of another. A recent court case showed that landlords are expected to behave in a proper fashion and that a failure to do so may lead to refusals of licence applications.
A full report of the case can be found at this link
In this case the landlord seemed to ignore every possible rule of proper behaviour. More importantly, his behaviour cost him his licence to lease the particular HMO and may eventually cost him his whole registration.
The facts of the case are fairly simple:
- The landlord turned up at one of his flats at 5.20 a.m.
- He let himself into the flat using a duplicate key and then tried to get into the bedroom of a young female tenant.
- She became very worried and called the police.
- The police arrived and after some initial difficulty in gaining access to the flat, they arrested the landlord.
- He was convicted of two charges relating to resisting arrest. He was not convicted of any criminal charges relating to unlawful harassment of the tenant.
When his application for a licence to operate a different flat as a HMO came before the local authority committee, the police objected based solely on these convictions.
His lawyer explained to the committee the landlord’s version of events – that he called to pick up keys he had inadvertently left behind the previous night and had no idea that any tenant was home. This version was challenged by the police representative and this application was refused. The landlord challenged the refusal on the basis that the committee should only have been told about the actual conviction and not the background information. This argument was summarily rejected by the courts.
This case shows that private landlords must act with care in all dealings with tenants. The licensing authorities are required to act to remove landlords who fall below these standards.
If you need any advice regarding landlord licensing please contact us. We act for many private landlords and are always happy to help.