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Information for private landlords

This advice applies to Scotland

Coronavirus - information for landlords

The Scottish government has published coronavirus guidance for private landlords and letting agents.

Private landlord loan scheme

The Scottish government’s Private Rent Sector Landlord COVID-19 Loan Scheme offers interest-free loans to eligible private-sector landlords whose tenants are having difficulty paying rent due to coronavirus.

If you have a property that is unoccupied

If you have a property that has been unoccupied from or after 17 March 2020, because of coronavirus, you might be eligible for an exemption on council tax from 27 May 2020. The exemption applies if the people who were living there before 17 March 2020 were exempt, for example, students. Check with your local council.

Access to a tenant’s home

You’re still responsible for doing urgent repairs to a tenant’s home.

You or a tradesperson should still be able to enter a tenant’s home to fix urgent health and safety issues, like if:

  • there’s a problem with the structure of the building – for example, the roof is leaking
  • the boiler is broken – meaning the tenant doesn’t have heating or hot water
  • there’s a plumbing issue – meaning the tenant doesn’t have washing or toilet facilities
  • white goods that came with the home are broken – like a fridge or washing machine
  • there’s a security problem – like a broken window or outside door
  • equipment for a disabled person needs to be fixed.

If you or a tradesperson has to enter a tenant’s home to fix an urgent issue, you and the tenant should follow NHS inform advice on physical distancing and hygiene.

You shouldn’t enter a tenant's home without their agreement, unless there's an emergency. 

This information applies to Scotland only.

Rights and responsibilities

You can find lots of information about your rights and duties as a private landlord on the Renting Scotland website, which is produced by Shelter Scotland. It covers:

  • renting out your property
  • starting and ending a tenancy as a landlord
  • tenancy deposits
  • dealing with disputes with tenants
  • dealing with anti-social behaviour
  • choosing a letting agent
  • repairs.

The website also offers a free app for landlords that can help you to:

  • keep checklists for multiple properties
  • remind yourself of things to tell tenants at a viewing
  • be aware of your legal responsibilities
  • answer legal, safety and money questions.

You can also find information and useful contacts, including a tool to create a tenancy agreement, on the mygov.scot website

Tenant privacy and data protection

Regulations about sharing personal information affect landlords who might need to share their tenants' information with local authorities or tenancy deposit schemes. The Scottish government has a template privacy notice that landlords can give to tenants to comply with the regulations. You could ask tenants to sign this to confirm they've received it. 

Landlord registration

Almost all private landlords who let properties in Scotland must register with the local authority. It's a criminal offence to let out property without being registered, and you could be fined up to £50,000 for doing so. You can register online on the Scottish Landlord Register website or through your local authority. 

Immigration checks by landlords in England

Landlords, including householders, in England who let private rented accommodation must do 'right to rent' immigration checks. This means checking that adults over 18 have the right to live in the UK before allowing them to rent the property. There's no requirement on landlords of private tenants in Scotland to make these checks.

Tenant Information Pack

You have a legal duty to provide new tenants with a Tenant Information Pack before their tenancy starts. You can download the pack and get more information on the Scottish government website.

Repairs

Most private tenancies must comply with the repairing standard. This is a set of legal and contractual obligations that apply to most private landlords to ensure that a property meets a minimum physical standard.

The First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber) can help tenants and landlords resolve their differences, including by enforcing the repairing standard.

There's information about the repairing standard on the Renting Scotland website and more information for landlords on the First-tier Tribunal website. There's also information on help the tribunal can give a landlord in exercising the right to enter.

Energy efficiency

The Scottish government is going to introduce minimum efficiency standards for private rented homes.

You should check Home Energy Scotland - support for private landlords for free and impartial support and advice. Financial help might be available.

Discrimination

It's against the law to discriminate against a tenant or prospective tenant by treating them unfairly because of their disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy or maternity, sex or sexual orientation. You have a duty to make reasonable adjustments if asked to do so by a disabled tenant or prospective tenant.

Read more about discrimination in housing, the duty to make reasonable adjustments and exceptions to this duty.

Further advice

You can get more detailed advice about your rights as a private landlord from an adviser at a Citizens Advice Bureau.

Landlords' associations

A landlords' association might also be able to help you. The Scottish Association of Landlords represents landlords and letting agents in Scotland. The National Association of Landlords is an association for private landlords in the UK.

Resident landlords

If you want to rent out a room in the house where you live, you'll be classed as a resident landlord. You can find information about taking in a lodger on the Shelter Scotland website.

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