Becoming a landlord
Most landlords in Scotland must register with their local authority. Exemptions apply to properties rather than to people. To check if your property is covered by one or more of the exemptions please visit the Scottish Government's web page ‘who has to register?’.
It is the owners of the property who must register. To ensure compliance please check your property title deed to see who owns the rental property you intend to let. Owners must also declare any agents that they use to manage their property. An agent may be a professional such as a letting agent or solicitor, or a friend or relative who looks after the property, arranges repairs, collects rents and so on. Where a friend or family looks after a property for you, the registration team will refer to this arrangement as a ‘Family Agent’.
To check if a property is registered, register as a landlord or make amendments to your landlord registration then visit the Scottish Government's National Landlord Registration web pages. If the property does not appear to be registered please contact the Landlord Registration Team on 01592 583397.
Private Tenancy (Scotland) Act
As of the 1st December 2017 changes in the way tenancy leases are issued came into force, tenancies issued after that date can no longer be Short Assured Tenancies, please see information pages relating to this topic.
Inform your mortgage lender
If you do not have a buy to let mortgage you must tell your mortgage lender that you want to rent your property. If you don't, renting out the property may breach the terms of your loan. If you don't inform your mortgage lender they may take legal action against you which could result in repossession of the property.
Many landlords don’t realise they need specialist landlords insurance to cover rental properties. General home buildings and contents insurance isn’t adequate to cover you for all third party risks that you could encounter as a landlord. Insurers need to know who is living in your property in order to calculate the risk.
Check your tax implications
Landlords should check with HMRC or their accountant about how tax is calculated on rental income.
Protecting tenant deposits
A tenancy deposit scheme is a scheme provided by an independent third party to protect deposits until they are due to be repaid.
Three schemes are now operating:
- Letting Protection Service Scotland
- Safedeposits Scotland
- My deposits Scotland
The Tenancy Deposit Schemes (Scotland) Regulations 2011 came into force on 7 March 2011. The Regulations set out the conditions that all schemes must meet before they can be approved by the Scottish Ministers.
Please see our adive section and landlord guides for further information.
Landlord's legal duties
The legal duties on landlords who receive a tenancy deposit are:
- to pay deposits to an approved tenancy deposit scheme
- to provide the tenant with key information about the tenancy and deposit
For further details please visit the Scottish Government web page ‘Safeguarding Tenancy Deposits’.
The tenant information pack
From 1st May 2013 until the 1st December 2017, a tenant information pack had to be provided for all new assured and short assured tenancies. The Tenant Information Pack provides important information to tenants who rent their homes privately. Landlords had a legal duty to provide new tenants with this pack. For further details please visit the Scottish Government web page Tenant Information Pack.
As of the 1st December 2017 tenant information packs are no longer required under the new Private Tenancy Scotland) Act introduction.
Illegal tenancy charges in Scotland
It is against the law for a landlord – or a letting agent acting on their behalf to charge or receive any premium or require the making of any loan as a condition of granting, renewing or continuing a tenancy. The Rent (Scotland) Act 1984 act (as amended) prohibits landlords from charging tenants for the cost of preparing a lease, administration charges, money for key or for the cost of preparing an inventory etc. All of these charges are known as "premiums". The Rent (Scotland) Act 1984 (Premiums) Regulations 2012 came into force on 30th November 2012. For further details please visit the Scottish Government web page ‘Rent (Scotland) Act 1984 (Premiums) Regulations 2012’
Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)
When three or more unrelated people live in a rented property, the property must be licensed as a House in Multiple Occupation(HMO). If you require further information on HMO licensing, please contact the HMO Licensing Team on 01592 583162 or email HMO.firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, please post details directly to: Private Sector Regulation, Housing & Neighbourhood Services 3rd Floor, Rothesay House, Rothesay Place, Glenrothes, KY7 5PQ.
Landlord duty to include certain information in adverts
A "written advertisement" includes any form of advertising made in writing, this could be advertising directed at the general public, or to a particular section of the public for example students; it also includes written advertisements to specific individuals. The Act includes internet and newspaper adverts and shop window displays, but does not include a notice board at or near the property concerned (i.e. a "to let" board). Where a property is jointly owned by two landlords, it is sufficient that the advertisement displays just one of the landlord's registration numbers. If the landlord advertising the property does not have a registration number but their application is pending, the advertisement should include the application number provided at the point of application. For a registered landlord the penalty for failing to include a registration number is that they may be removed from the register. If an applicant awaiting registration does not display "the application number" the penalty is that their application may be refused.
Displaying energy performance indicator
From the 9th January 2013, where a property is being offered for let or sale the energy performance indicator from that property's Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) must be stated in any advertisement. Under the Energy Performance of Buildings (Scotland) Amendment (No. 2) Regulations 2012, "advertisement" has been given broad meaning and includes:
- an advertisement in a newspaper or a magazine
- an advertisement transmitted electronically, including by means of the internet
- an advertisement by way of written particulars of a property, which includes a written description of the property together with at least two of the following: a photograph, floor plan, details of proposed rent and size rooms.
Landlords should ensure that all adverts and any printed particulars for use after January 2013 will include the necessary EPC information. Where any property has been rented out after 4 January 2009 the landlord must provide the tenant with an Energy Performance Certificate. For further details please visit the Scottish Government web page regarding Energy Performance Certificate requirements.
Energy performance certificates (EPC)
Before you can market a property you have to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). This report gives the property an energy rating, which shows how energy efficient the property is. This can give tenants an indication of how much it will cost to heat a property and help them decide whether or not to rent the property. From 9th January 2013 an energy performance indicator must be included in all advertisements.
The Repairing Standard
The Repairing Standard increases legal requirements on repair and maintenance in the private rented sector, which tenants will be able to enforce more easily through the First-tier Tribunal the Private Rented Housing Panel. Where a tenant makes a complaint to the Council with regards to a private rental property failing to meet the Repairing Standard (as defined by section 13 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006, appropriate advice will be given to the tenant on the correct procedures involved in addressing such problems and the role of the First-tier tribunal. Fife Council only has an advisory role. The tenant will be advised to seek independent legal advice.
Private rented sector legislation
Some important legislation relating to the private rented sector:
Rent (Scotland) Act 1984- introduction of regulated tenancy regime; regulation on deposits; clarification of illegal premiums; and notice to quit regulation.
Housing (Scotland) Act 1987- landlord’s identity requirement; and serious disrepair regulation.
Housing (Scotland) Act 1988- introduction of assured, and short assured, tenancy regime; tacit relocation; and change to notice to quit.
Antisocial Behaviour etc (Scotland) Act 2004- introduction of landlord registration regulation.
Housing (Scotland) Act 2006- Repairing Standard introduction; Housing in Multiple Occupation regime; Tenancy Deposit Scheme regulatory framework; landlord’s right of access; and right to adapt properties.
Private Rented Housing (Scotland) Act 2011- changes to the registration of private landlords; amendments to the Housing in Multiple Occupation licensing regime; introduction of Overcrowding Statutory Notices; and introduction of the Tenant Information Pack.
Private residential (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016– New legislation relating to tenancies and how they should be issued and how to end a tenancy after 1stDecember 2017