Landmark court ruling ‘could have major implications’

A landmark court ruling against a Fife private landlord could have major implications for scores of other cases. Mohammed Murtaza from Kirkcaldy has become the first private landlord to be disqualified by a Scottish court. Following his second conviction, Murtaza was banned from renting out homes anywhere in Scotland for 12 months. Alistair Duncan, of Miller Hendry says, “Landlords who fail to comply with their legal obligations will now face court action and potentially hefty fines.”

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New Data Protection Bill burden on small businesses

A new Data Protection Bill, due to be signed into law next May, which allows people to ask for personal data to be deleted, will have major implications for letting and estate agents. Cold calling and passing on information to others, without consent, will be banned. The situation regarding tenants’ references is so far unclear. The Forum of Private Business warns “Many businesses rely on email lists, and the prospect of obtaining and maintaining consent records, is one that many businesses will simply not be able to cope with.”



Six months until new statutory code

Letting agents have six months to prepare for compliance with a new, statutory Code of Practice, set to improve standards and empower customers. Housing Minister Kevin Stewart is writing to all commercial letting agents to highlight the changes and their responsibilities, and the need to comply by Jan. 31, 2018. The code sets out standards in how letting agents deliver services, and makes it compulsory to have Client Money Protection and Professional Indemnity Insurance.


Bill to improve rental property standards

The Bill put forward by Labour MP Karen Buck, which could give tenants the right to sue landlords if their home is of a poor standard, is to get its second reading in the House of Commons in January 2018. The Bill had its first reading earlier this week before the Commons started its summer recess. Under the Housing Act of 2004, landlords can be forced to make repairs by local councils, but only 2,006 landlords have been convicted of offences so far.