How to complain about your private landlord

Write to your landlord to make a complaint about them. If you’re not happy with their response, you can contact the council or apply to a tribunal.

When to complain

Make a complaint if your landlord has done something wrong, such as:

  • not doing repairs or safety checks

  • not protecting your deposit

  • accessing your home without permission or without giving enough notice

  • increasing the rent without giving you the right notice

  • trying to evict you without following the right process

The specific rules your landlord must follow depends on what kind of tenancy you have. Check our guidance on your rights if you rent your home.

If you rent from a letting agency, they have to follow extra rules. Check our guidance on complaining to a letting agency.

Step 1: contact your landlord informally

Talk to your landlord if you can. Explain what the problem is and tell them what effect it’s having on you.

Your issue could be fixed if you ask them to put the problem right.

Get any agreements in writing so there are no misunderstandings.

Step 2: write to your landlord

Write a letter or email:

  • explaining what the problem is and how you want it to be fixed

  • asking them to confirm a timeframe to solve the problem

  • telling them that you’ll take further action if your problem is not fixed

Keep proof of any letters or emails you send.

Your landlord’s address should be in your tenancy agreement and on the Scottish Landlord Register.

If they're not on the register, you can report them to the council. It’s against the law to be an unregistered landlord and they could be fined. Find out what to do if your landlord is not registered.

If you're complaining about repair problems

Use our letter templates to help you know what to say:

Step 3: if you’re unhappy with your landlord’s response

Write to the council to explain the issue and how you’ve tried to solve it. Send a copy to your landlord.

The council can order your landlord to put any issues right.

Find your council's website on mygov.scot

If the problem is still not solved, or if you want to apply for compensation, you can apply to the First-tier Tribunal (Housing and Property Chamber).

Applying to the tribunal

It’s free to apply to the tribunal. It’s less formal than a court and generally you do not need a solicitor.

The tribunal could help if:

The tribunal can order your landlord to solve the problem, and you could get compensation.

Follow our guidance on taking your landlord to the tribunal.

If you're worried about being evicted

It’s illegal for your landlord to evict you for complaining.

If you have a short assured tenancy you can be evicted without a reason, but a strict legal process still has to be followed.

If you’re threatened with eviction for acting on your rights, get advice from Shelter Scotland.

Call the police on 101 if your landlord is harassing you or trying to force you out.

Last updated: 14 June 2023

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

Get advice if you're in England