A scheme aiming to crack down on rogue landlords has cost taxpayers nearly £18 million in the past six years and resulted in just 11 reports to the procurator fiscal in Scotland.
The Landlord Registration Scheme was set up in 2006 to address the problem of problem landlords in private rental sector.
According to figures obtained by the Scottish Conservatives, landlords have paid £11.2 million in fees and the project received a government start-up grant of £5.2 million.
Other running costs are estimated at around £300,000 since the scheme started.
Since 2006, just 40 landlord have been barred from registering, while 11 have been reported for prosecution out of more than 200,000 who have signed up.
Details on Scotland’s Landlord Registration Service came to light after Scottish Conservative MSP Alex Johnstone raised questions in parliament.
He said the scheme has cost more than £400,000 for every landlord refused registration.
“According to this scheme, since 2006, there are only 40 rogue landlords operating in Scotland, however many tenants will have had an altogether more negative experience,” said Mr Johnstone, Scottish Conservative housing spokesman.
“This farcical programme, introduced with the best of intentions, is failing to deliver at a tremendous cost to the taxpayer.”
Effectively, it means that landlords who were forced to become part of the registration scheme under the assumption that it would root-out rogue landlords have paid a lot of money for a small level of enforcement.
Responsible people in the rental property industry are being hit in the pocket because the scheme is inadequate, Mr Johnstone added.
A robust and efficient way of meeting the housing need through the private rented sector is needed, but the Landlord Registration Scheme is not providing it, he continued.
The Scottish Association of Landlords represents rental property owners across the country and supported the scheme when it was introduced. Now, policy and parliamentary affairs officer John Blackwood said it is not inspiring confidence with landlord members or tenants.
He called for a review of the programme in order to make it fit for purpose.