Skip to main content

View our coronavirus (COVID-19) housing advice

Your rights as a short Scottish secure tenant

As a short Scottish secure tenant you have more limited rights than a Scottish secure tenant. You can be evicted more easily, you have no right to buy your home and no-one can succeed to your tenancy if you die. This page explains your rights.

As well as rights, you also have certain responsibilities as a short Scottish secure tenant. It's important you fulfil these, otherwise you could find yourself facing eviction.

Short Scottish tenancies and rent

As a council, housing association or housing co-op tenant, your rent will probably be lower than the rent charged by a private landlord. Your landlord has the right to increase your rent, but must give you at least four weeks' notice before doing so. In addition, they must consult you before increasing your rent and should always take your views into account.

Short Scottish tenancies and the right to repair

As your landlord, your council, housing association or housing co-op has a duty to carry out certain repairs and to make sure the property is well maintained and that all appliances are safe.

If you would like to make improvements to your home (for example adding kitchen or bathroom fittings, insulating your loft or getting double glazing) or you need to adapt your home to suit someone in your family who's disabled you must ask your landlord's permission first. Depending on the nature of the improvements, you may have a right to receive compensation at the end of your tenancy for the work you've carried out.

Short Scottish tenancies and the right to information

Your landlord must give you:

  • a written tenancy agreement
  • information about the complaints procedure.

In addition, you can also ask for information about:

  • how your rent is set
  • how housing is allocated by your council, housing association or housing co-op and what the policies for transfers and exchanges are
  • what their policies are concerning repairs and maintenance.

Your landlord must also consult you before making or changing any housing management policies that affect you, for example concerning rent, repairs and maintenance or service charges. All social landlords should have a tenant participation strategy to encourage tenant involvement and to ensure you are kept up to date with your rights and any policy changes that are made. Ask your landlord for further details.

Who can live with me?

Any member of your family can live with you in your home, provided it doesn't lead to overcrowding. Make sure you tell your landlord who is living with you, and let them know when someone moves in or out.

If your situation changes (for example, you have another child, younger children get older, another family member comes to live with you) so that your home does become overcrowded, you should apply to the council or housing association for a transfer.

Find out more about transfers.

Family members include:

  • your husband/wife or civil partner
  • an opposite-sex or same-sex partner
  • parents
  • grandparents
  • children (including foster children, step-children, and any other child treated by you as your child)
  • grandchildren
  • nephews and nieces
  • brothers and sisters
  • aunts and uncles
  • any of the above related to your spouse or partner.

Can I sublet my home or take in a lodger?

If you are thinking about subletting your home or taking in a lodger, you will need to write to your landlord to ask permission, explaining who the new tenant will be, when they will be moving in and how much deposit and rent you will be charging them. Your landlord has to give you permission, unless they have good reason not to (for example, because it will make your home illegally overcrowded, or because they think you are charging the new tenant too much rent).

If you write to your landlord asking permission and they do not get back to you within a month, you can presume they have consented to the arrangement. You should then write to them again explaining that you assume consent has been given and informing them when the tenant will be moving in.

If you want to put your tenant's rent up, you will have to inform your landlord, who can veto the increase if they feel it's excessive.

The length of time your lodger or subtenant can stay in your property, as set out in their tenancy agreement, cannot be longer than the term of your short Scottish secure tenancy.

As the head tenant, you will still be responsible for paying the rent to your landlord. In addition, as the landlord of your subtenant or lodger, you will have certain responsibilities. For example, you will be responsible for making sure certain repairs are carried out, and for carrying out the correct eviction procedure if you want your tenant to leave.

Can I run a business from my home?

Under a short Scottish secure tenancy agreement, you are not allowed to run a business from your home. However, if you apply in writing for permission from your landlord, they may allow you, although they may also increase your rent. In addition, if you run a business from your home this can affect any Housing Benefit that you may receive.

Can I exchange my home?

You can exchange your home for another house where the tenant has an Scottish secure tenancy or short Scottish secure tenancy. However, there are certain restrictions. For example, you can't exchange your home for one that is too big for your household or not suitable for your needs. Find out more in the section on mutual exchanges.

What if I want to leave?

If you wish to end your tenancy before the fixed period is up, you may be able to agree to do so with your landlord. There may also be a notice period specified in your tenancy agreement. However, if your landlord doesn't agree that you can end your tenancy early, you will have to carry on paying the rent until the fixed term is up, regardless of whether or not you're still living there.

What is abandonment?

If your landlord believes that you have left your tenancy without intending to return, they can start abandonment proceedings.

Can I pass my tenancy on to anyone else?

Your tenancy is your right to live in that property. You can sign over your tenancy to anyone who has lived with you and has used the property as their main home for the past six months or more. This is called assignation. You will need to get written permission from your landlord, but your landlord can only refuse permission if they have a good reason for doing so.

What happens to the tenancy if I die?

As a short Scottish secure tenant, you don't have the right to pass your tenancy on if you die (this is called succession).

Can I buy my home?

As a short Scottish secure tenant, you don't have the right to buy your home.

Can I be evicted from my home?

Short Scottish secure tenants can be evicted more easily than Scottish secure tenants.

  • Your landlord can start action to evict you at any time for antisocial behaviour or non-payment of rent.
  • Your landlord can also evict you at the end of the fixed period of your lease and does not need to give you a reason for doing so.

Visit the eviction section too find out more about the correct legal procedure and what you can do to prevent eviction.

What if I have a complaint?

If you feel that your landlord is not sticking to the terms of your tenancy agreement (for example, by not carrying out repairs) you should complain using the official complaints procedure. If you are still not happy, you can take your complaint to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman, although you should always get advice from a Shelter advice centre or Citizens Advice first.

Joint tenancies

Setting up a joint tenancy

Anyone who lives with you can apply for joint tenancy, provided that it is their main home. Both you and the prospective joint tenant need to apply to your landlord in writing, and your landlord has to agree to the joint tenancy, unless they have a good reason not to.

If you have a joint tenancy with someone, it means that you have exactly the same rights and obligations as each other. For example, if one of you does not pay their share of the rent, the other(s) will have to pay it.

Ending a joint tenancy

If a joint tenant wishes to leave, they must give you and the landlord four weeks' notice in writing. This will not affect your tenancy, which will continue as usual, except you'll have to pay all of the rent.

Abandonment by a joint tenant

If your landlord believes a joint tenant has left the property and isn't intending to live there any more, they can give that tenant four weeks' notice and then end their tenancy. Your tenancy will continue. The section on abandonment has more information.

Scotland map Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.
This content applies to Scotland only.
Get advice if you're in England

The important points

  • Your landlord must consult you and give you 4 weeks’ notice if they want to increase your rent.
  • If you want to sublet your home or take in a lodger, you will need to write to your landlord to ask permission.
  • As a short Scottish secure tenant, you don't have the right to pass your tenancy on if you die.
  • Short Scottish secure tenants can be evicted more easily than Scottish secure tenants.

If you're still looking for help, try searching, or find out how to contact us