Problems with your landlord
Coronavirus – access to your home
Don’t delay telling your landlord about urgent repairs that are needed to your home. Your landlord is still responsible for doing these repairs, even while the rules about staying at home because of coronavirus are in place.
Your landlord or a tradesperson should still be able to enter your 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
- your boiler is broken – meaning you don’t have heating or hot water
- there’s a plumbing issue – meaning you don’t have washing or toilet facilities
- white goods that came with your home are broken – like a fridge or washing machine
- there’s a security problem – like a broken window or entrance door
- equipment for a disabled person needs to be fixed.
If your landlord or a tradesperson has to enter your home to fix an urgent issue, you should:
- stay in separate rooms during any visits
- follow official advice on hygiene before, during and after visits.
Your landlord shouldn’t ask to enter your home for other reasons, for example to carry out viewings for sale or letting. If they do, you can remind them that this is against government guidance.
Your private landlord isn't registered
All landlords of private tenancies have to be registered on the Scottish Landlord Register. This is to ensure their details have been checked and they are a 'fit and proper' person to let property. It's a criminal offence not to be registered unless the property is exempt.
To find out if your landlord is registered, search for the property by address on the Scottish Landlord Register website.
You don't know the identity of your private landlord
As a tenant you have a legal right to know who your landlord is. In some cases the letting agent may also be the landlord.
If you need to find out the landlord’s identity because you need emergency repairs, such as a burst pipe, it may be quicker to ask the council to enter and carry out emergency repairs. It can then take steps to find out who the landlord is to recover its costs from the landlord. Find out more about getting repairs done when you're renting.
If you don't know the identity of your landlord, you can find out by:
- checking what your lease says
- checking the tenant information pack
- looking up the landlord's registration on the Scottish Landlord Register
- writing to the letting agent to ask for the landlord’s full name and address
- writing to the person or organisation who last received the rent - this might be the landlord's bank.
If you write to the letting agent or the landlord's bank
Send your request by recorded delivery and keep a copy. If they don't reply within 21 days, this is a criminal offence.
If you're writing to the bank you should address the letter to the manager of the branch which received the money. Find out the branch address by putting the landlord's account sort code into an online checker. Say that you're entitled to the landlord's name and address under the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 section 327.
The landlord is discriminating against you
A landlord must not discriminate against you because of your disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, sex, disability, sexual orientation or religion. These are called 'protected characteristics'.
This means that they are probably breaking the law if, because of a protected characteristic you have, they:
- refuse to let a property to you
- charge you higher rent than other tenants
- give you worse terms in your agreement than other tenants
- treat you differently from other tenants in the way you’re allowed to use facilities, such as a laundry or a garden
- evict or harass you because of a characteristic you have
- refuse to carry out repairs
- refuse to make reasonable changes to a property or a term in the tenancy agreement which would allow a disabled person to live there.
There are some circumstances where the general rules about discrimination may not apply, for example, if your landlord lives in the same property as you. More about discrimination in housing.
If you think your landlord is discriminating against you, you should get advice from an experienced adviser, for example at a Citizens Advice Bureau - where to get advice.
The landlord wants access to the property
A landlord has a right to reasonable access to carry out repairs. The landlord also has a right to enter the property to inspect the state of repair.
What 'reasonable access' means depends on why the landlord needs to get access. For example, in an emergency the landlord is entitled to immediate access to carry out necessary work.
Under normal circumstances private residential tenants must get at least 48 hours’ notice before they have to give access to their landlord for repairs, whereas short assured and assured tenants get 24 hours.
If you’re a private residential tenant you may also have to allow access for an inspection or home valuation to take place.
If you are staying in lodgings, the landlord can only enter your space with your permission. The landlord does have the right to enter to carry out repairs but only with reasonable notice.
A private landlord may be able to ask the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber) for help in entering the property for repairs. There are FAQs and information about the landlord's right of entry on the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber) website.
A landlord does not have a right to enter in any other circumstances unless s/he has a court order, or an order from the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber).
The landlord harasses you
If the landlord does anything which they know is likely to make you leave the house or stop you exercising your legal rights, this is an offence.
- repeatedly disturbing you late at night
- preventing your access to the house
- creating noise
- disconnecting the water, gas or electricity where the landlord knows that this is likely to intimidate you.
If you are harassed, you should report it to the police by phoning 101, or 999 if you think you're in danger.
It is against the law for a landlord to harass you because of your disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity rights, race, sex, sexual orientation, religion or belief. Harassment can include both actions and language that you find offensive. More about harassment and discrimination in housing.
For example, you're a woman living on your own in a private rented flat. The landlord has kept the keys and keeps coming round. He says it's to check on the property but really he just makes suggestive comments to you. You don't know what to do and don't want to say he can't come into the flat in case he evicts you.
Your landlord doesn't have the right to treat you like this. This is likely to be sex discrimination. And although he has the right to keep a set of keys, he doesn't have the right to come into your flat whenever he feels like it. You need to see an experienced adviser who will help you deal with this landlord, for example at a Citizens Advice Bureau - where to get advice.
Problems with your deposit
Most private landlords are required by law to pay tenancy deposits into an approved tenancy deposit scheme. Some landlords fail to do this or you may not agree with how much of the deposit the landlord wants to keep at the end of your tenancy.
Read about how to deal with problems with tenancy deposits.