Getting compensation from your private landlord

If your private landlord or letting agent has broken the law, you could get compensation by applying to the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber).

Compensation claims are often not straightforward. You may need legal advice before applying.

The process is different if you rent from the council or a housing association.

When you can apply to the tribunal

You can apply to the tribunal for compensation if your landlord owes you money or has broken the law.

Follow our guidance on getting compensation if:

If you want to claim money for a different reason, you can apply to the tribunal through a process called civil proceedings.

There's no guarantee the tribunal will agree that your landlord must pay you compensation. They'll look at all the evidence from both sides before making a decision.

Before applying to the tribunal

Try to come to a reasonable solution with your landlord before taking legal action. Ask your landlord for the money in writing.

The court or tribunal will want to see evidence that you've tried to resolve the dispute first. Keep copies of any letters, emails or texts you send.

Getting legal advice

Consider getting legal advice if you want to claim a large amount of money, or if your case is complicated. A solicitor could help you work out how much to ask for.

Find a solicitor on the Law Society of Scotland

Solicitors charge for their work. You may be able to get free legal advice or legal aid to help with costs.

If you're not sure whether you need legal advice, contact a Shelter Scotland adviser. They can help you work out your rights and find the right legal help.

Withholding rent

Withholding rent to get money from your landlord is risky. Your landlord might try to evict you for rent arrears.

It's safer to keep paying your rent and claim what you're owed at the tribunal.

Check our guidance on withholding rent

Applying to the tribunal for civil proceedings

Civil proceedings is a process you can use to claim money at the tribunal.

Download Form F and the Notes on Completing Form F from the tribunal's website.

In section 5a, write:

In section 5c, say how much money you want your landlord to pay you and why.

Evidence you can use

Show the tribunal how your landlord's actions affected you. For example, give proof of:

  • the value of any damage or inconvenience your landlord caused

  • how your landlord’s actions caused you physical injury or mental distress

  • how your landlord's actions cost you money – for example, if you had to move out or pay for repairs yourself

Check previous tribunal decisions

The tribunal publishes all its decisions online. To help you work out what evidence to give or how much compensation to ask for, you can read previous decisions on the tribunal's website.

After you apply

Check our guidance on what happens after you apply to the tribunal.

If you’re awarded compensation

The court or tribunal will usually set a deadline for your landlord or letting agent to pay.

If they do not pay, sheriff officers can enforce the payment order. They cost money to hire. Get quotes from different sheriff officers before you decide.

To find a sheriff officer search on the Society of Messengers-at-Arms and Sheriff Officers website.

Last updated: 13 June 2023

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

Get advice if you're in England