Rogue landlords can expect stiffer penalties after a landmark court ruling signalled a crackdown on lawbreakers.
Mohammed Murtaza recently became the first private landlord to be disqualified by a Scottish court when he was convicted for operating as a landlord after his registration was refused.
Following his second conviction at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court, the 47-year-old Fife landlord was banned from renting out homes anywhere in Scotland for 12 months. He was also fined £500.
Mr Murtaza was found guilty of breaching both the Antisocial Behaviour (Scotland) Act 2004, and the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006.
Sheriff Gilchrist said it was “a flagrant breach of legislation”.
The landlord had previously been convicted at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court in November 2014 for failing to comply with his private landlord duties under the Antisocial Behaviour etc (Scotland) Act 2004 and for being in breach of Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998.
He had six convictions in relation to legislative compliance failures with fines of £540.
He was refused entry onto Fife’s landlord register, as a result of the convictions, in June 2015, making it a criminal offence for him to rent out a residential property in Fife.
However, he continued to operate as a landlord despite his registration being refused.
Alistair Duncan, head of the Commercial Property Department at Tayside-based solicitors Miller Hendry, commented: “This case sends out a clear message to private landlords that councils and their partner agencies will take all appropriate action to protect tenants and improve property standards in the private sector.
“Landlords who flout the law and fail to comply with their legal obligations will now face court action and potentially hefty fines.
“If you are uncertain about your position, you should seek independent legal advice on letting your property through a solicitor or a professional letting agent.”
For further advice or information on property law or other legal issues, visit www.millerhendrysolicitors.co.uk