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Information for private landlords

This advice applies to Scotland

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 the following issues:-

  • 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 access to 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 General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)

Regulations that came into force in 2018 about the sharing of personal information affect landlords who may need to to share their tenant's information with local authorities or tenancy deposit schemes. The Scottish Government has a template privacy notice that landlords can give to tenants in order to comply with the regulations. You could ask tenants to sign this also to confirm they have received it. 

Landlord registration

Almost all private landlords who let properties in Scotland must register with the local authority. It is a criminal offence to let out property and not be registered and you could be fined up to £50,000. 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 is no requirement on landlords of private tenants in Scotland to make such 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 from the Scottish Government website , and there is more information at gov.scot.

Repairs

Most private tenancies must comply with the repairing standard. The repairing standard 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 the enforcement of the repairing standard.

There is information about the repairing standard on the Renting Scotland website, and more information for landlords on the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber), and for help that the Tribunal can give a landlord in exercising the right to enter.

Energy efficiency

From April 2020, the Scottish Government is introducing 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 may be available.

Discrimination

It is against the law for you to discriminate against a tenant or prospective tenant by treating them unfairly because of their disability, gender re-assignment, pregnancy and maternity, sex or sexual orientation. You also have a duty to make reasonable adjustments if requested to do so by a disabled tenant or prospective tenant.

More about discrimination in housing, the duty to make reasonable adjustments and the 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 – where to get advice.

Landlords associations

A landlords association may also be able to help you. For example:-

The Scottish Association of Landlords which represents landlords and letting agents in Scotland.

There is also the National Association of Landlords which 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 will be classed as a resident landlord. You can find information about taking in a lodger on the Shelter Scotland website.

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