Whether you are a first-time landlord or have been managing a portfolio of rental properties for many years, it is important to keep up to date on your responsibilities and obligations as a landlord. Knowing your responsibilities will protect you, your investment and your tenants.
Are you thinking about becoming a landlord? Read our list of costs for first-time landlords.
As a landlord in Scotland, you must comply with the below responsibilities and obligations. Depending upon your level of expertise, and the amount of time that you have available, employing a local letting agent may be a good option to help ensure that both you and your property are compliant. However, although your letting agent will carry out the majority of the below duties on your behalf, you are still legally responsible as the landlord.
Read our tips on how to choose the best letting agent for your property.
Before you can market your property for rent in Scotland, you must first register as a landlord with the local council. This can be done online via Landlord Registration Scotland. If there is more than one landlord, you should each register separately and link your registration numbers to the property.
Your registration number must be displayed in the copy of the property advert, so be sure to apply in plenty of time before marketing the property. Registration numbers are valid for up to 3 years; you must inform Landlord Registration Scotland if any of the information you have provided changes within this time.
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
A valid EPC is another requirement before your property can be marketed for rent. As with your landlord registration number, the EPC rating must be included in the advert copy to give prospective tenants an indication of energy efficiency. As a private landlord, you are legally obliged to provide an EPC, failure to do so could lead to a fine of up to £200.
If you have recently purchased your property, an EPC will have been included in the Home Report. An existing certificate can be used if there have been no significant alterations.
EPCs are valid for 10 years. You can check if your property already has an EPC online by searching your postcode on the Scottish EPC Register.
Tenants pay a security deposit at the beginning of the tenancy, to protect you against any damage to the property or unpaid rent when they leave. The deposit must be lodged with a government-approved Tenancy Deposit Scheme within 30 working days of the start of the tenancy. If you are using a letting agent, they will usually register the deposit on your behalf, but it is still your responsibility to check how and when it will be done.
You (or your letting agent) should provide tenants with the name of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme used and the prescribed information, as is set out in the tenancy deposit regulations. At Clan Gordon, we use SafeDeposits Scotland for all of our tenancy deposits.
All private residential tenancies in Scotland (beginning on or after 1st December 2017) are Private Residential Tenancies (PRTs), so require a specific PRT agreement. The Scottish Government have produced a model tenancy agreement, of which we use an adapted version for Clan Gordon tenancies.
In addition to the tenancy agreement, clearly stating the terms of the tenancy, you must also give the tenant accompanying notes – either the ‘Easy Read Notes for the Scottish Government Model Private Tenancy Agreement’ or ‘Private Residential Tenancy Statutory Terms Supporting Notes’ – depending upon what agreement you are using.
If you are using a letting agent they will most likely supply and sign the tenancy agreement on your behalf, but if you are self-managing it is down to you to ensure that you have a suitable agreement in place that includes all of the terms required for the tenancy.
Find out more about the PRT:
- Key changes for Edinburgh landlords.
- Private Residential Tenancy: No minimum term.
- Key changes for Edinburgh tenants.
Your contact details
Your name and address must be made available to your tenant. If you are managing the property yourself, your name and address should be clearly stated on the tenancy agreement. Alternatively, if you are using a letting agent, the agreement can include your name and the agents' address, however, your full name and address must be provided to the tenant if requested.
Legislation surrounding safety in lettings properties has changed in Scotland in recent years. It is your responsibility to ensure that the below checks and alarms are carried out before your tenants move in, and remain in date for the duration of the tenancy. If you are using a letting agent, they will do this on your behalf.
You are currently required to have the following safety certificates and alarms:
- Gas Safety Certificate (GSC)
- Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarm
- Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR)
- Portable Appliance Test (PAT)
- Legionella Risk Assessment (LRA)
- Smoke alarm(s)
- Heat alarm
Find full details of the safety certificates and alarms required here, along with the prices charged by our contractors.
All private residential lettings properties in Scotland must meet the Repairing Standard. It is your responsibility to ensure that your property meets this standard, both before and during the tenancy. In addition to the provision of safety certificates, smoke, heat and CO alarms, as is mentioned above, the Repairing Standard also covers:
- The property must be wind and watertight and reasonably fit for tenants to live in.
- The structure and exterior of the property must be in a reasonable state of repair and in proper working order.
- Fixtures, fittings and appliances provided by the landlord must be in a reasonable state of repair and in working order.
- Furnishings provided by the landlord must be safe for purpose and in a reasonable state of repair.
You will have to rely on your tenant (or letting agent) to inform you of any changes to the property that result in it no longer complying with the Repairing Standard. You must act to resolve any issues within a reasonable time frame.
You have the right to enter the property to inspect or carry out repairs, but the tenant must be given a minimum of 24 hours written notice. Regular property inspections (either by you or your agent) help keep an eye on the property. At Clan Gordon, we carry out an inspection in the first 3 months of the tenancy, followed by 6-monthly inspections.
Allow the tenant quiet enjoyment
Although you have the right to enter the property to inspect or facilitate repairs (where the tenant has been given the correct notice), it is important that the tenant is allowed quiet enjoyment of the property.
Follow legal procedures
The tenancy will end when either you or the tenant serves notice. If you are the one to end the tenancy, it is your responsibility to ensure that you do so legally. The process for ending a tenancy, and the reasons that can be used for doing so, depends upon the type of tenancy that's in place – either a Short Assured Tenancy (the standard tenancy before 1st December 2017) or a PRT. You could be breaking the law if you do not use the correct procedure.
If you are using a letting agent to manage your property, they will take care of most of the above points on your behalf. However, as the landlord, it is down to you to know what your responsibilities and obligations are to protect yourself, your property and your tenants.
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