When it comes to renting your property out in Scotland, it’s important that you are aware of every step of the process so you don’t end up with any nasty surprises.
There are many responsibilities that landlords need to be up-to-date with, especially when it comes to laws and regulations.
Before we go through the step by step process of letting in Scotland, we must first mention the private residential tenancy.
What is a private residential tenancy?
The private residential tenancy is a new type of tenancy which came into force in December 2017 to replace the assured and short tenancy. This change was to tackle improvements in the private rented sector.
As soon as you decide you want to start letting your property to potential tenants, you will need to register with the local council in the area where the property is based. You can find out more about how to do this on the gov.scot website.
Understanding your responsibilities as a landlord
Whether you are letting through an agent or managing your lettings privately, you still have legal responsibilities as a landlord. When letting in Scotland, there are a number of legal responsibilities landlords should fulfil.
Make sure you give your tenants your name and address
Ensure the tenants deposit is registered with an approved tenancy deposit scheme. Find out more about logging your tenant’s deposits.
Provide your tenant with a tenancy agreement
You will need to take action if there is anti-social behaviour by your tenants in or around your property
Be able to produce an Energy Performance Certificate to anyone wanting to rent out your property
Carry out a Legionella Risk Assessment
Meet gas, electricity and other safety requirements
Ensure you have fire alarms fitted in specified rooms as required by legislation. Further details are here
Should you decide to go with a letting agent to manage your letting, they will be able to advise and support with all of the above.
Meeting the repairing standards
If you're renting out a property, as the landlord you're responsible for carrying out some repairs. It's your duty to make sure the property meets the repairing standard. This is a basic level of repair that all private rented properties must meet.
The following are required to make sure your rental property meets the repairing standard:
Making sure the property is wind and watertight
Suitable fire detection devices are fitted
Carbon Monoxide Detectors are fitted
Water, gas and electricity are properly working
Furnishings can be used safely for the tenants’ required uses
Other requirements that will also need attention in rental properties from a fire safety perspective (including single and multiple occupants):
A smoke alarm installed in the room most frequently used for general daytime living.
A smoke alarm in every circulation space on each storey, such as hallways and landings
A heat alarm installed in every kitchen
All alarms should be ceiling mounted
All alarms should be interlinked
Fire blankets should be provided in the kitchen
Fire extinguishers should be in the hallways
Fire proof doors should be fitted in the property
Find out more about the requirements for fire and smoke alarms in Scottish homes.
Getting paperwork ready
Before you can begin marketing your property for potential tenants, we recommend preparing the paperwork you will need depending on tenancy type.
If you tenant rented your property on or after the private residential tenancy changes on 1st December 2017, you must have a tenancy agreement or written tenancy terms which support this, as these tenants will have a private residential tenancy.
You will also need to provide the tenant either an ‘Easy Read Notes for the Scottish Government Model Tenancy Agreement’ or the ‘Private Residential Tenancy Statutory Terms Supporting Notes’.
These will help the tenant understand their rights and responsibilities before beginning their tenancy. The notes you give will depend on tenancy type.
Before you begin advertising your rentals to potential tenants, you will need to have a number of checks on the condition of the property. With this in mind, here are a few of the more important checks:
Make sure a fire alarm, heat alarm and fire extinguishers are present in the property
Make sure your electrics are installed correctly and are safe. An Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) can help with this.
Make sure you’ve had your gas appliances checked with an Annual Landlord Gas Safety Record check. This must be arranged annually.
Get an Energy Performance Certificate for the property, as you will not be able to advertise without one.
Make sure you meet the Repairing Standards mentioned previously.
Ensure any furniture in the property meets fire regulations.
Arrange an inventory, listing everything in the property. Include photos of the property’s condition before the tenancy begins.
Take a meter reading so you and the tenant are aware of what they should be paying.
You can then start advertising your property! If this is with a letting agent they will most likely handle everything for you. If you are advertising yourself, make sure to provide your landlord registration number and Energy Performance Certificate.
Once you have found a tenant for your property it is now time for the final paperwork and deposit. You will need to provide your tenant with the following:
Tenancy agreement signed by yourself and the tenant
A copy of the correct information notes
An Annual Landlord Gas Safety Record certificate
An Energy Performance Certificate
Any electrical safety certificates
Information or contact details on how to report repairs or emergencies
Before the tenant moves in, you must arrange the deposit and first rent payment. The deposit must be registered with a third party tenancy deposit scheme such as, Letting Protection Service Scotland, Safe Deposits Scotland or My Deposits Scotland. You must inform the tenant which deposit scheme you choose to use.
Moving the tenant in
Once the paperwork and deposit is finalised, you will need to give the local council your tenant’s details and moving in date.
On the day of the move, make sure you take some final steps:
Hand over the keys to the tenant
Inform the tenant how to turn the water supply on as well as the electrics
Provide the tenant with a copy of the property inventory and ask them to return signed
Arrange a visit in a few months to check of any issues