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Rent and deposits if you sublet your home

The amount of rent you can charge your lodger or subtenant will depend on the amount of rent you yourself pay, and on what other landlords charge for similar rooms or properties in your area. In addition, you can ask your lodger or subtenant to pay a deposit.

How much rent can I charge?

Check local papers and shop windows to get an idea of how much landlords in your area ask for when letting a room.

If you have a lodger, you will probably get more income if you offer to provide services (such as meals or laundry) as part of the arrangement.

Scottish secure tenants and short Scottish secure tenants

When you ask your landlord's permission to take in a lodger or sublet your home, you have to let them know how much rent you will be charging. If your landlord thinks you are charging too much, they can refuse permission for the lodger or subtenant to move in.

Private tenants

Depending on the terms of your tenancy agreement, your landlord will probably want to know how much rent you are charging your lodger or subtenant. It is unlikely they will let you make much profit out of it!

Can I ask for a deposit?

Landlords can ask up to two month's rent as a deposit. The deposit must be returned to the lodger or subtenant at the end of their tenancy, provided they have not broken or damaged anything. The deposit does not need to be registered with a tenancy deposit scheme as the landlord and tenant live in the same property.

Before your lodger or subtenant moves in, it's best to draw up an inventory of everything in the property and the condition it's in, and ask the tenant to check and sign it. It will then be easier to tell whether your tenant should get their whole deposit back when they move out. You can read more about deposits and inventories

How do I keep track of the rent?

Make sure you keep a written record of all the rent your lodger or subtenant pays. You can do this by using a rent book (download an example rent book) or by keeping bank statements showing the payments made. If your lodger or subtenant pays their rent by cash or cheque, make sure you always give them a receipt. If the tenant pays weekly, you have to give them a rent book.

What happens if my tenant doesn't pay their rent?

As the 'head tenant', you are still responsible for paying all the rent to your landlord, regardless of whether your lodger or subtenant pays you on time. There is a risk that your lodger or subtenant could fall behind with the rent. If this happens, you may have to go to court to evict them and/or get the money owing to you. This can be expensive, and isn't always successful. Get advice from Citizens Advice if you're in this situation.

Scotland map Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.
This content applies to Scotland only.
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The important points

  • Check local papers and shop windows to get an idea of how much landlords in your area ask for when letting a room.
  • You can get more income if you offer to provide services, such as meals or laundry.
  • Before your lodger or subtenant moves in, it's best to draw up an inventory of everything in the property and the condition it's in, and ask the tenant to check and sign it.
  • As the 'head tenant', you are still responsible for paying all the rent to your landlord, regardless of whether your lodger or subtenant pays you on time.

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