Your responsibilities as a Scottish secure or short Scottish secure tenant
If you have a Scottish secure or short Scottish secure tenancy you have many rights as a tenant. However, you also have certain responsibilities. It's important you keep to the terms of your tenancy agreement, otherwise you may get evicted.
Make yourself at home
It may sound obvious, but in order to keep your tenancy, you must actually live in the property and use it as your main home. Let your landlord know if you will be leaving the house empty for more than four weeks, so they won't think you've abandoned the property.
Keep up to date with your rent
It's important that you pay your rent on time, otherwise your landlord may try to evict you. If you're having problems paying your rent, the section on rent arrears has further advice.
Take care of your property
As a Scottish secure or short Scottish secure tenant, you have several responsibilities regarding the upkeep of your home:
- You must look after the property as best you can and avoid causing damage to it, or to your neighbours' property. This includes heating the property adequately and making sure it's kept well ventilated. In particular, make sure you look after the property in cold weather. For example, if you go away during the winter leaving the property unoccupied, you should ensure the heating is left on a timer to keep the place warm. A burst water pipe may be your landlord's responsibility to fix, but it's still your home that will be flooded - and if it's your fault, your landlord will charge you for it!
- Report any damage or disrepair to your landlord - they can't fix it if they don't know about it.
- If you do cause any damage or break anything, you'll need to repair or replace it. This does not include fair wear and tear - for example, if the carpet becomes a little thin, this is fair wear and tear; if you burn a big hole in it, it will need to be replaced.
- You are also responsible for interior decoration and for carrying out minor maintenance (for example, checking smoke and CO (carbon monoxide) alarms are working, changing light bulbs and fuses, etc).
- If you notice that the structure of the building or any of the installations (for example, the heating system or the drains) need repair work done, it's up to you to let your landlord know about it.
- You must pull your weight in caring for the common parts of the property (for example, cleaning a shared stairwell).
- Always deal with your rubbish properly. Make sure it's bagged up properly, and only put out when and where it's supposed to be.
- Stick to any terms in your tenancy agreement regarding pets, parking, gardening, caravans etc.
Be nice to your neighbours
You, and anyone living with you or visiting you, should take care not to behave in an antisocial way that could upset or annoy your neighbours. Antisocial behaviour can include things like:
- having the stereo or TV on too loudly
- not keeping pets under control
- allowing your children to be a nuisance
- leaving rubbish piled up everywhere
- making a lot of noise when you enter or leave your home and making a lot of noise outside your home
- using the house for illegal purposes, such as drug dealing.
In addition, you should never behave in an aggressive, intimidating or insulting way towards your landlord or any council, housing association or housing co-op staff you deal with.
Antisocial behaviour is a ground for eviction, so be nice!
Ask permission before making changes
As a Scottish secure or short Scottish secure tenant, you need to ask permission from your landlord if you want to:
- make improvements to the property
- sublet your home or take in a lodger
- pass on your tenancy to someone else
- run a business from your home.
Your tenancy agreement may state other things you need to ask permission for, such as keeping a pet or parking a caravan on the property.
Always make your request in writing and make sure you get your landlord's permission in writing.
End your tenancy properly
You can't just walk away from a tenancy - you must give your landlord proper notice. Otherwise you could end up still liable for rent, even though you're no longer living there. The pages on your rights explains how to end a Scottish secure tenancy and a short Scottish secure tenancy.