The Legalities Of Letting: How Edinburgh Letting Agents Keep Landlords Compliant

For Edinburgh landlords, keeping up with regulation changes has become increasingly difficult in recent years. From EPC requirements to deposit registration schemes, the Repairing Standard and rent caps, being a landlord requires great attention to detail to avoid falling foul of the law.  

The complexities of renting out a property can’t be underestimated, and many landlords turn to letting agents to help them stay compliant and avoid fines – or worse. So, what are the requirements, and how can a letting agent make sure you stay on the right side of the tracks? 

Know the rules landlords have to follow 

From the moment you decide to let your property, there are rules you need to follow. All landlords in Scotland must be registered with the Government. An application to join the Scottish Landlord Register takes around 20 minutes to complete online and costs £80 to register in one local authority area – additional areas are £40 each.  

You must confirm your property meets both the Tolerable Standard and the Repairing Standard, which means it must be in a reasonable state of repair and have services such as water, gas, electricity, sanitation and heating that are in working order. 

But it doesn’t stop there… 

Check, Check, Check 

The list of other requirements you need to meet to rent out your home is considerable, and some require visits by specialist testers to issue safety certificates. These must be carried out on a regular basis during the tenancy, and you must provide certificates to your tenants.  

Gas safety certificate: this confirms any gas appliances such as boilers and gas cookers are safe and in good working order. Checks must be done annually. 

Electrical installation condition report or a current electrical installation certificate: this confirms the electrics in the property have been safely installed. 

Electrical appliance test details: any electrical appliances you provide, such as fridges and washing machines, must be PAT tested at least every five years. 

Fire, smoke and heat detection equipment: your property must be fitted with detection equipment linked to an alarm system. 

Carbon monoxide detector: your property must be fitted with a working carbon monoxide detector if there are gas appliances or solid fuel stoves. 

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC): you must provide an EPC that shows the energy efficiency of your property. 

Legionella risk assessment: you are required to do a risk assessment for legionella and ensure the water system is safe 

Register Your Tenant’s Deposit 

When you accept your tenant’s deposit, it must be lodged with a recognised tenancy deposit scheme within 30 days. There are three schemes to choose from in Scotland. If you fail to register with one, your tenant can be awarded up to three times their deposit by the First-Tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber). 

Get Your Tenancy Agreement Right 

The Scottish Government provides a model private residential tenancy agreement for landlords to follow to ensure it is legally compliant. Tenancies can no longer have an end date or minimum period. Since 2017, all private tenancies must be open-ended, and rent can only be increased once in a 12-month period. 

Landlords must give the required notice to tenants: 

  • 28 days’ notice if they have lived in the property for less than six months or the landlord is using one of the six ‘behaviour’ grounds 
  • 84 days’ notice if they have lived in the property for more than six months and the landlord is not using the ‘behaviour’ grounds 

The six ‘behaviours’ that apply are if the tenant: 

  • is not occupying the property as their only or main home 
  • has breached the agreement 
  • is in rent arrears for three or more months in a row 
  • has been found guilty, in a court, of certain crimes 
  • has been involved in antisocial behaviour 
  • has been involved with a person who has been found guilty of certain crimes or has been involved in antisocial behaviour

For most landlords, managing all the legal requirements of renting out a property is too arduous, and they run the risk of neglecting something important. Signing it over to a letting agent puts the property in the hands of a professional who will know exactly what is required.  

Reputable letting agents ensure their employees are kept up to date with legislation changes and temporary measures that can impact landlords, such as the 3% rent cap that was introduced to protect tenants during the cost-of-living crisis. 

To find out how a letting agent can ensure you comply with all the legal requirements of letting your Edinburgh property, schedule a call with one of our professional property managers today. 

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