Tenants guide to moving in: Understanding your rights and responsibilities in Edinburgh 

Clan Gordon is an award-winning letting agent voted one of the best at managing properties and securing tenants in Scotland and Edinburgh.

When you move into a tenancy your landlord is obliged to maintain the property so that it’s fit to live in. They must also respond to a necessary repair you have reported within a reasonable time and provide the required safety certificates at your request. Landlords are not permitted to enter the property without giving at least 24 hours of notice and are to do so at a reasonable hour. 

As you prepare for moving day, you should understand that as a tenant, you also have your fair share of responsibilities to fulfil. It’s a two-way street. This guide aims to equip you for successful tenancy with Clan Gordon, fostering a healthy relationship with your landlord and ensuring a smooth, enjoyable stay in your new home. 

Ensure rent payments are made on time 

Paying your rent on time is crucial for maintaining a good relationship with your landlord and abiding by the terms of your tenancy agreement. Late or missed rent payments can cause financial strain for both you and the property owner, potentially affecting their ability to cover mortgage payments and other expenses related to the property. 

To ensure timely rent payments, consider setting up a direct debit or standing order to automatically transfer the funds from your bank account to your landlord’s account on the due date. This simple step can help you avoid any accidental delays or oversights in making payments. 

I have been with Clan Gordon for about 7 years. I found them very supportive and helpful always. They made sure all maintenance issues was carried out well always and timely. The agents working have always been helpful and wonderful to speak to. Moving in and out of the property was made smooth and easy by them.

Robyn - All Agents Review 

Report maintenance issues when they happen 

As a responsible tenant, you must report any property maintenance issues or damage as soon as they come to your attention. This includes problems such as leaking pipes, faulty electrical fixtures or malfunctioning appliances. By promptly notifying your landlord or letting agent, you protect yourself from potential safety hazards and help prevent further damage to the property. 

Keep in mind that regular wear and tear should be expected over time but any significant issues or repairs needed beyond what is considered normal wear and tear should be brought to your landlord’s attention immediately. Prompt communication allows them to address the problem swiftly, ensuring your comfort and preventing minor issues from escalating into larger ones. 

No one is expecting you to keep the property squeaky clean and in perfect condition at all times. It’s a home, not a show home. However, handling small tasks like putting bins out for rubbish collection, changing lightbulbs and opening the windows for ventilation come down to the tenant.  

This should also go without saying but don’t make any alterations to the property without the approval of the landlord. Whether it’s putting up some new shelves or getting rid of the existing furniture, you should ask first before jumping into action. The landlord will likely be fine with any sensible changes you want to make, but it’s best to get something agreed in writing first.  

Know important contact numbers 

Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to your rental. Make sure to keep your landlord’s or letting agent’s phone number easily accessible so you can reach them when necessary. In case of emergencies like plumbing leaks or power outages, having the contact details of emergency services, including plumbers or electricians, will prove invaluable. 

Make sure to familiarise yourself with the location of important utility controls within the property. Knowing where the stopcock, fuse box, and meters are located grants you control and the ability to respond calmly and effectively to any unforeseen circumstances or emergencies, minimising potential risks or inconveniences. 

Be a considerate tenant and neighbour 

Living in a shared community extends beyond your rental unit’s walls. As a responsible tenant, your actions impact not only your landlord but also your neighbours. Here’s how you can cultivate positive relationships and create a harmonious living environment for everyone: 

Keep parties to a minimum 

While it is perfectly acceptable to host occasional get-togethers with friends, it is essential to respect the comfort and privacy of your neighbours. Avoid hosting parties or gatherings that could disturb others excessively, especially during late hours or on weekdays when people may need their rest for work or other commitments. 

If you anticipate that your event might become noisy or disruptive, it is courteous to inform your neighbours in advance. A simple heads-up can go a long way toward fostering good relations and preventing potential complaints about noise disturbances. 

Respect your neighbours 

Responsible tenants understand the importance of being respectful and considerate towards their neighbours. Taking extra care not to cause any unnecessary disruptions, such as excessive noise or littering in common areas, shows your commitment to maintaining a welcoming living environment for everyone.  

Building a good rapport with your neighbours can build a sense of community and make your overall rental experience much more enjoyable. 

As a tenant who has been with many letting agents over the years, I can honestly say that Clan Gordon are the best agency I have been with.  Even at the viewing stage for my flat, I want to say thanks to Euan, who made arrangements for a virtual viewing when I couldn’t make the physical viewing at the last minute!

Somebody from the agency also showed me round on my first day (I can’t remember who, sorry!), which I’ve never had before and it was so helpful. Please keep doing this! The only improvement I would suggest is a better explanation of how the boiler/heating worked, as I struggled with this at the start.

When I had an issue with the locks on my flat door, the reporting system made it easy to log an issue. Thank you to Anna as my property manager who was so quick to resolve these issues and questions I had throughout my stay.  Even at the end of my tenancy, I’d get replies to my questions within minutes, which I really appreciated.  It’s so rare to find such a helpful agency, and I would definitely recommend Clan Gordon as one of the best for tenants in Edinburgh. Please keep doing what you’re doing! 🙂

Catherine - All Agents Review

What Clan Gordon looks for in tenants  

While finding the perfect home is important, finding the right fit with your landlord is equally crucial. Here at Clan Gordon, we carefully consider every tenant looking to move in with us and vet them against the following criteria to ensure a smooth tenancy for everyone involved. 

Application 

Landlords are provided with the following information from each property application to assist in selecting their preferred tenant:  

  • Personal Information: All applications provide details about the prospective tenants, including any children residing with them. This helps us understand the household dynamics and ensure the property aligns with individual needs. 
  • Occupational Background: Knowing the tenants’ occupations gives us insight into their lifestyle and financial stability, both crucial aspects for a successful tenancy. 
  • Guarantor Information: If applicable, guarantor details are gathered to provide additional financial security for the landlord in specific situations. 
  • Pet Policy: While we understand the joy pets bring, all pet requests are carefully considered and require landlord approval to maintain a comfortable environment for all residents. This will be detailed in the tenancy agreement. 

Referencing  

All prospective tenants are thoroughly referenced by a third party. This can vary depending on the type of tenant but may include: 

  • Credit history: Reviewing your credit report helps assess financial responsibility and ability to meet rent payments consistently. 
  • Landlord references: Contacting your current or previous landlords provides valuable insights into your tenancy history and behaviour. 
  • Employment Verification: Confirming your employment status and income ensures affordability and financial stability throughout the tenancy. 
  • Affordability Assessment: This ensures your income comfortably covers rent and other living expenses, contributing to a smooth and stress-free experience. 

Please note that in some instances, if the application doesn’t fully meet our referencing criteria, we might require a UK-based guarantor or an upfront payment of six months’ rent. This safeguard aims to ensure financial stability and protect the interests of both tenants and landlords. 

We believe this transparent approach leads to positive matching, fostering long-term, mutually beneficial relationships for everyone involved. If you have any questions about our tenant selection process, please don’t hesitate to contact us. 

What to expect when moving in with Clan Gordon 

Starting a new tenancy can feel overwhelming, that’s why Clan Gordon strives to ensure your transition is as smooth and informative as possible. Below are the key steps involved in securing your tenancy, preparing for your move-in day and settling comfortably into your new home with Clan Gordon by your side. 

Starting the tenancy 

Before the start of the tenancy, a deposit equivalent to a minimum of one month’s rent plus £200 is collected. Rest assured, we lodge all deposits with SafeDeposits Scotland, an approved Tenancy Deposit Scheme provider, and send all essential paperwork to the tenants within 30 working days, as is set out in the tenancy deposit regulations. 

The first rent payment is collected before the tenancy begins and will be pro rata if part way through the month. All subsequent rent payments are due on the first of the month, making it easy for us to identify and follow up on late payments immediately. 

All new tenancies are Private Residential Tenancies (PRTs). We use an adapted version of the PRT model tenancy agreement produced by the Scottish Government. PRTs have a start date only, there is no initial term. Tenants can read through the agreement and ask questions ahead of their move-in date. All tenants are given guidance notes provided by the Scottish Government explaining the tenancy. 

Moving into your new home 

We always arrange for a final clean of the property to be carried out before the inventory so that it is recorded as clean in the report. Then, a thorough inventory including a photographic record is created and signed at the start of every tenancy.  

This is carried out by a third party (at a small cost to the landlord) and records all aspects of the property – from paintwork to furnishings. It generates a comprehensive report of its condition. This is a valuable document when it comes to negotiating deposit deductions at the end of your tenancy. 

We arrange an onsite check-in (except where impossible for the tenant – in which case we will visit to carry out a check-in report before they collect the keys) for all new tenancies, rather than ask the tenant to collect keys from our office as many agents do. This allows us to ensure that tenants understand their obligations and are aware of how to look after the property, including: 

  • Heating and ventilation  
  • Cleanliness  
  • Care of flooring and furnishings 
  • Safety checks and certificates. 

We also take initial meter readings and ensure that the gas, electricity and council tax accounts are changed into the name of the tenant at the beginning of a tenancy. 

Understanding landlord duties when looking after tenants 

In addition to meeting your responsibilities as a tenant, it is important to be aware of the duties and obligations that your landlord or letting agent has towards you. By understanding these expectations, you can better navigate your rental journey and ensure that your rights as a tenant are upheld. 

Responsibilities regarding repairs and appliances 

Your landlord should address repair requests promptly and effectively. This includes ensuring electrical appliances, such as lights, washing machines and vacuum cleaners are repaired within a reasonable time frame. Similarly, structural repairs like draughty window panels or loose guttering should be promptly attended to upon being reported. 

Annual servicing of the boiler and regular checks on gas safety are essential for your well-being. Your landlord should ensure that the necessary inspections and maintenance take place accordingly. Furthermore, if there is a gas or wood fire in the property, a carbon monoxide detector should be installed in the room for added safety. 

Gas and fire safety measures 

Feeling safe shouldn’t be a luxury in your own home. To maintain a safe living environment, your rental property must comply with certain gas and fire safety regulations. Landlords have a responsibility to provide adequate smoke and heat alarms throughout the flat to safeguard against potential fire hazards.  

If you are residing in a house of multiple occupation (HMO), additional fire safety measures such as fire safety blankets, fire extinguishers and emergency lighting provisions may also be required. Remember, your well-being is their top priority, so don’t hesitate to voice any concerns regarding gas or fire safety. Open communication is key to a secure living environment. 

If you ever have any questions or concerns around safety compliance, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.  

Deposits and tenancy deposit schemes 

When renting a property, it is common practice for landlords or letting agents to request a security deposit from tenants. This deposit serves as a form of protection against any damages or unpaid rent at the end of the tenancy. However, it is important to note that landlords are legally obliged to handle tenant deposits appropriately. 

Here’s the good news: your deposit isn’t your landlord’s piggy bank! In Scotland, they must: 

  • Inform you in writing about the chosen tenancy deposit scheme within 30 days of moving in. 
  • Securely hold your deposit with one of the three approved schemes: Letting Protection Service Scotland, Safe Deposits Scotland, or mydeposits Scotland. At Clan Gordon, we use Safe Deposits Scotland. 
  • Return your deposit within 21 days of your tenancy ending, assuming no deductions are necessary. 

Remember, getting your full deposit back depends on leaving the property in the same condition you received it in (minus normal wear and tear). So, document any pre-existing issues when you move in and take good care of the place. Before moving out, schedule a joint inspection with your landlord to document the property's condition and avoid potential disputes later. 

Becoming an ideal tenant and enjoying a positive rental experience 

Renting a home in Edinburgh, whether it’s your first or next, is an exciting chapter. But handling responsibilities like rent, repairs, and communicating with your landlord or neighbours can seem daunting.  

By understanding and fulfilling your responsibilities as a tenant, you can establish yourself as an ideal renter and contribute to a positive rental experience. Paying your rent on time, promptly reporting maintenance issues, practising considerate behaviour toward neighbours, and knowing your rights as a tenant are all key aspects of that. 

Being a responsible tenant is important for maintaining good relations with your landlord and is crucial to ensue your safety, comfort and well-being during your time in the rented property. By following these guidelines, you will be well-equipped to navigate your rental journey and create a mutually beneficial relationship with your landlord or letting agent. 

Most importantly, your rental experience should be enriching, not just fulfilling obligations. Embrace your role as a responsible tenant, but don't forget to enjoy your new home! Create lasting memories, explore Edinburgh and make your tenancy comfortable. 

As a responsible tenant, finding a new place to live shouldn’t be a hassle. Search our rental properties in Edinburgh, and find the perfect new place to call home.