Landlord legal obligations

A private landlord has certain legal rights and responsibilities toward their tenant/s. These vary depending on the type of tenancy or occupancy arrangement in place.

Before letting a property

  • You need to register as a landlord
  • When marketing your property, your advert must include your landlord registration number and the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating
  • Landlords renting to three or more unrelated people must have a House of Multiple Occupation licence before they can let their property.
  • Contact your mortgage provider and home insurance provider to notify them you plan to let out the property
  • Ensure property is safe (gas safety, electrical installation condition report (EICR) smoke & heat detectors, carbon monoxide detectors).

Tenancy Agreements and Notices

On 1 December 2017 a new type of tenancy - the private residential tenancy - came into force. It replaces assured and short assured tenancy agreements for all new tenancies. Any existing short assured and assured tenancies will continue, but new tenancies granted in the private rented sector from December 2017 will be private residential tenancies.

Also be aware that if there is a material change to an short assured tenancy after December 2017 the landlord must issue a private residential tenancy PRT to the tenants.

The Scottish Government has developed a guide for landlords about the private residential tenancy:

Private residential tenancies: landlord's guide

A landlord must follow the correct legal procedures for seeking possession of the accommodation, if the tenant does not leave when they are asked to. In most cases this means giving proper notice.

Rents and deposits

Various rules apply to the charging and handling of rents and deposits:

  • No charge must be made for a person to have their name put on a list for accommodation.
  • No charge must be made for drawing up or copying the tenancy agreement.
  • If a deposit is required, it must be no more that the equivalent of two months’ rent.  Deposits must be lodged with one of the three Tenancy Deposit schemes.
  • If rent is paid weekly, the landlord must issue a rent book and enter a receipt for each weekly payment.
  • The tenant cannot be required to pay rent before the start of the rental period to which it relates.
  • Proper procedures must be followed before changing the amount of rent to be charged.
  • Under a private residential tenancy, if a tenant pays in cash they must be issued with a receipt stating the amount paid and whether the account is up to date or there is still an amount outstanding.

Find out more information on rents and deposits.

Repairs and maintenance

A private landlord also has a duty to carry out repairs to rental properties.

  • Tenants should be made aware who to contact when they need to report a repair.
  • Landlords should arrange at least one property inspection during the duration of the tenancy.
  • A tenant must be given 24 hours’ notice that you need access to the property; it is recommended that this be in writing.
  • If necessary repairs are not carried out and should the property not meet the Repairing Standard, your tenant has the right to submit an application to the Housing and Property Chamber: First-Tier Tribunal for Scotland.

The repairing standard

The repairing standard applies to all private sector tenancies with the exception of occupancy agreements that are not leases. Private landlords are responsible for ensuring that their property complies with the repairing standard both at the start of the tenancy and throughout.

  • Accommodation must be wind and watertight and 'reasonably fit for human habitation'.
  • The structure and exterior must be in a reasonable state of repair.
  • Installations for the supply of water, gas and electricity must be in a reasonable state of repair and in proper working order.
  • Fixtures and fittings and any appliances provided by the landlord must be in a reasonable state of repair and in good working order.
  • Any furnishings provided by the landlord must be able to be used safely and for the purpose they are intended for.
  • There must be a satisfactory means of detecting and warning about fire (such as smoke alarms).