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.

Written agreement

Where an Assured or Short Assured Tenancy exists, the tenant has the right to a written agreement.  This must show their landlords name and address.  If you want to create a Short Assured Tenancy, you should let the tenant know before signing the tenancy agreement by giving them notice of this (called an AT5 form).

Evicting a tenant

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. Under the Rent (Scotland) Act 1984, it is a criminal offence to evict a tenant unlawfully, or to use harassment to try to make them leave.

Housing law is a complex subject.

More information about Assured and Short Term Assured tenancies is available from:

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.

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.

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).