Edinburgh landlord banned from renting out properties

A landlord has been refused entry on the landlord register which makes it a criminal offence for him to rent out property in the Capital.

The decision, the first time that the City of Edinburgh Council has refused such an application, was made after the Council's Regulatory Committee heard Mark Fortune's application to be entered on the register of fit and proper landlords.

Councillors were told that he had been convicted of offences directly relating his business of letting properties. These included an incident in March 2011 where he was fined £1,000 for operating an unlicensed House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) and September 2011 where he was fined £650 for threatening tenants.

They also heard that Mr Fortune's appeal to the Sheriff for his previous refusal of an HMO licence from the Council had been rejected in January.

Councillor Gavin Barrie, Convener of the Regulatory Committee, said: "Whilst the significant majority of landlords are of good character and comply with the law there are some, such as Mark Fortune, who act unlawfully.    

"Private rented property is an important part of the housing market in Edinburgh and Landlord Registration laws have an important part to play in ensuring tenants and neighbours can live their lives safe from crime, disorder and danger.

"This decision sends a clear message to good landlords, tenants and their neighbours that we will take robust action against landlords who act unlawfully."

The Regulatory Committee decision was taken on 1 February 2013.

Additional information:

Complaints received by the Council range from the unfair loss of deposits, failure to carry out repairs and the poor condition of a property, right through to abusive behaviour and illegal evictions.

There are legal requirements under the Antisocial Behaviour (Scotland) Act 2004 for landlords of private rented residences (with a few exemptions) to register and, in addition, to obtain a licence for any which are let in multiple occupation with three or more unrelated tenants.

Local authorities can take action under registration and licensing legislation to strike them off the register and refuse or revoke a house in multiple occupation licence. If a landlord is removed from the register this makes it a criminal offence for him to let properties.

In August 2011 the legal test for being fit and proper to hold an HMO licence and to be on the Landlord Register were made the same and the maximum fine for breaking the legalisation increased to £50,000 for both offences.

Tenants can protect themselves by checking if their landlord is registered on the Scottish Government's National Landlord Registration website. unregistered and unlicensed lets can be reported to the Local Authority.

For advice on landlord problems in Edinburgh please contact the Council-run Private Rented Services on 0131 529 7454. 

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