Tracing absentee owners

Land ownership is public information, as is the name of landlords.

Landlords

You can search for the details of a private landlord through the Register of Private Landlords. You will need either a landlord registration number or the postcode of the rental property.

You can also ask the tenant for the name of the flat owner. They may refer you to a letting agent who you can contact. Letting agents in Scotland are required to register and follow a Code of Guidance, which says that agents must respond promptly to any appropriate third parties, ‘particularly where these relate to statutory repairing or maintenance obligations or safety regulations’.

Empty flats

You can find the name of the current owner in the Land Register. Note that it may take a few months to update the register after a sale. You will have to pay a small fee. You can also search the Land Register for other properties owned by a person. This may give you a home address.

If your council has an Empty Homes Officer, contact them for help. You can find a list of Empty Homes Officers for each council and their contact details on the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership website.

If your council does not have an Empty Homes Officer, you can contact the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership.

Shops

You can find the names of shop owners and their tenants through the Scottish Assessors website.

Help from your council

If you are trying to carry out common repairs, most local authorities will send a message to the person registered as the property owner on the Council Tax Register. Approach the private sector housing staff for help.

Searching online

Try searching online for the owner if you know the name. You may come across a Facebook page or other reference. If you contact an owner through e.g. Facebook, this will count as an electronic communication. Keep screenshots of such communications for your records.

Sheriff Officers and Private Detectives

This may incur a cost but could be worth it if other methods have failed and you have a lot of money at stake.

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