Private landlords - renting your property out
If you own a house or flat and want to rent it out, there are a number of things you need to know:
- Private residential tenancy
- Minimum energy efficiency standards
- Landlord registration
- Houses in multiple occupancy
- Tenancy deposit schemes
- Illegal premium
- Landlord checklist
- Landlord accreditation
- Let property campaign
- Legionnaires risk assessment
- Private landlord newsletter
Our private landlord information leaflet (pdf 306KB) explains your rights and responsibilities as a landlord renting to a private tenant.
The introduction of the new private residential tenancy means that it's no longer be possible to create an assured or short assured tenancy from 1st December 2017 onwards. Existing tenancies that were taken out before this date will continue to operate as they do currently until they come to an end.
The Scottish Government website provides more information about the new tenancy:
- Private residential tenancies: information for tenants
- Private residential tenancies: information for landlords
It is the law that a landlord must give their tenant(s) a written tenancy agreement. The Scottish Government has produced a Model Private Residential Tenancy Agreement to help do this which includes both mandatory clauses that must be included when using the model tenancy as well as discretionary terms which a landlord may or may not choose to include.
When a landlord uses the Model Private Residential Tenancy Agreement they must also provide their tenant(s) with a copy of the Easy Read Notes for the Scottish Government Model Private Residential Tenancy Agreement which explain all of the different parts of your tenancy agreement.
From mid November 2017 you are able to complete the Model Private Residential Tenancy Agreement online on the Scottish Government website.
Sometimes a landlord will choose not to use the Model Private Residential Tenancy Agreement. A landlord can use a different tenancy agreement as long as it sets out all of the statutory terms. If a landlord decides to do this they must provide their tenant(s) with a copy of the Private Residential Tenancy Statutory Terms Supporting Notes which includes information about the nine tenancy terms which must be provided in the tenancy agreement by law.
These new regulations were due to be introduced in April 2020. However, due to coronavirus (COVID-19) the Scottish Government have postponed implementation. We will publish further details when these are available.
The Scottish Government has confirmed that minimum energy efficiency standards within the private rented sector will be introduced, starting from April 2020.
Private rented properties will need to achieve at least EPC band E at change in tenancy from 1st April 2020, and in all properties by 31st March 2022. In addition, properties will need to achieve at least EPC band D at change in tenancy from 1st April 2022, and in all properties by 31st March 2025.
The Scottish Government advised that further information on penalties and exceptions will be available in early 2019.
View more information on support for energy exceptions in the private rented sector. The Energy Saving Trust has also developed an animated video setting out the new requirements.
Energy efficiency standards are part of the Scottish Government's Energy Efficiency Scotland programme.
You need a house in multiple occupancy (HMO) licence if both of the following apply:
- you want to rent your property out to 3 or more tenants
- none of the tenants are related or part of the same family
If you want to use your property in this way you need to apply for an HMO licence.
The Tenancy Deposit scheme protects tenants' deposits until they are due to be repaid. The scheme is provided by an independent third party. All landlords are required by law to lodge their deposits in one of the three schemes.
It is illegal to charge tenants any fees other than rent and a refundable deposit. No other charges such as reference checks, credit checks and inventory fees are allowed.
Many new landlords have come into the private sector market and there have been some recent changes to the law. Read our handy landlord checklist (pdf 76KB) listing all the things you need to consider when letting out a property.
Landlord Accreditation Scotland (LAS) is a voluntary scheme for private landlords and letting agents. Becoming an accredited landlord or letting agent demonstrates your management practices are of a high standard. The benefits include:
- discounted legal, accountancy and insurance services
- access to a network of trades including electricians and gas engineers
- discounts from national furniture, furnishing and white goods providers
Information and training sessions are run locally throughout the year and cost around £69. You must go to at least one training session each year.
- Training and information courses (pdf 214KB)
- Detailed course information - explains what each course covers (pdf 89KB)
Landlords have a legal duty to carry out a legionnaires risk assessment on the water systems within their rental properties. The risk assessment can be carried out by the landlord if they are competent or they can instruct a suitably qualified person.
Legionnaires disease is a potentially fatal lung condition, that can be contracted by inhaling bacteria from infected water systems.
Landlords and letting agents can carry out a Legionnaire’s risk assessment themselves if the property is a single dwelling or a flat with its own water supply, hot and cold, and they are competent to do so. In particular landlords should:
- Understand different types of water systems
- Understand Legionella bacteria and the factors which increase the risk of an outbreak in a domestic setting
- Understand the control measures which, if present, will reduce the risk of an outbreak within a domestic setting
Before considering carrying out a risk assessment you should familiarise yourself, in particular, with the following Health and Safety Executive (HSE) publications:
- Legionnaire’s disease: a brief guide for duty holders (pdf 281KB)
- Legionnaire’s disease part 2: the control the relevant part of Legionella in hot and cold water systems (pdf 2.1MB)
If you do not consider yourself to be competent to carry out the assessment, please ask someone else who would be.
View our private landlord newsletter. This quarterly newsletter contains information that you need to be aware of as a landlord or agent.