Landlord registration for family members?

We own our sons home as well as manage his support team under SDS Option 1, and he is in receipt of Universal Credit which repays his rent to us. We are registered as landlords. However, I recently received the following advice from a senior housing officer:

I can advise that there are provisions within the Act to exempt family members from registration requirements, if renting or providing property to their children. We do come across a lot of people in similar circumstances to your situation who have become accidental landlords by providing a property to a family member for varying reasons and those you state below.

I wonder if anyone knows anything about this - would his UC be at risk if we do not re-register every three years (I think that is the renewal period at the moment).

Hi Robert,
Many thanks for your post. I wonder if you might be referring to the Housing (Scotland) Bill 2024 which has recently been published.

The Scottish Government has produced a Policy Memorandum on the Housing (Scotland) Bill, which you can see here: https://www.parliament.scot/-/media/files/legislation/bills/s6-bills/housing-scotland-bill/introduction/policy-memorandum-accessible.pdf

This does have a specific section ‘Part 4 – Other matters relating to tenants’ which includes a section looking at the Registration of Letting Agents (p.33). However, I can’t find anything that specifically relates to registration where the tenant is a family member.

Housing policy and legislation is not an area that I have a lot of knowledge on. However, I did come across some information from Shelter Scotland regarding Landlords that are not required to register. In this information, it states:

‘Private landlords do not have to register if they:
. . . rent the property to a family member’

See further information here: Your landlord’s registration responsibilities - Shelter Scotland

So I wonder if you don’t have to register as a Landlord anyway?

I don’t know whether this has any effect on your son’s eligibility for welfare benefits like Universal Credit, as I thought this has it’s own set of eligibility criteria. Shelter Scotland has produced further information on applying for Universal Credit to help pay rent here: Applying for Universal Credit to help pay rent - Shelter Scotland

I wonder if Shelter Scotland could provide further advice on this area. You can find their co0ntact details here: Contact Shelter Scotland through web chat or by calling our helpline, or check our online housing advice. - Shelter Scotland

I hope that helps in some way but do come back to me if there’s anything else that I can do.

Many thanks,

Mark

Generally it’s better not to rock the boat, if only to avoid giving the DWP something to make a mess with, but you also don’t want to be paying for landlord registration etc. if you don’t have to. It could potentially change how UC view your son’s home in terms of capital (assuming this is a second home), so definitely worth checking with Citizens Advice/Shelter and/or your local Welfare Rights Team. It’s usually good advice to ask UC as well, so at least that you can evidence this if there was a problem. Having worked in welfare rights, this one might need someone to do a bit of research/checking to get the right advice.

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Yes… tricky, but I’ll ask the UC folk for advice - they will probably be hugely out of their depth, but at least they cannot sanction us if there is a breadcrumb trail we can refer to.

Well, yes, that seems crystal clear. But I am only too aware that in many cases such as this, printed advice that seems binding and definitive can later on be interpreted differently on the whim of some official.

Capital rules are another thing, aren’t they? It would not amuse me much if - say - my wife developed dementia and needed a care home - and my son’s home was 'deemed ’ to be my own material asset - and therefore able to be stripped to pay for her care ! These are the kind of weird nightmares that many of us oldies have to figure out these days.

Indeed. The benefit system can be a fairly blunt instrument at the best of times, but it’s really not well equipped to support complex life circumstances :frowning:

Good news: "I can confirm the property is exempt under the regulations and there will be no future requirement to re-register in the future.

I did look into a potential refund for you given the circumstances, but unfortunately as the application was fully processed in that the administration and police background checks have been carried out, that this was not possible.

If you need any further assistance then please don’t hesitate to get back to me."

Regards

**Tony ******

Senior Environmental Health Officer

North Lanarkshire Council