Taking your landlord to court

If you have a dispute with your landlord or letting agent, you can apply to a court or tribunal.

Legal action is usually a last resort. You'll need to show you've tried to resolve things before taking legal action.

How to take legal action depends on who you rent your home from.

If you rent from a private landlord or letting agent

You can take legal action against them at the First-tier Tribunal (Housing and Property Chamber).

The tribunal deals with disputes including:

  • repairs

  • deposits

  • problems with tenancy agreements

  • illegal evictions

In certain cases you can be awarded compensation.

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

Check our guidance on taking your landlord to the tribunal.

If you rent from the council or a housing association

You can take legal action against them at your local sheriff court.

The sheriff court deals with disputes including:

  • repairs

  • assignation, which means signing a tenancy over to someone else

  • succession, which means taking over a tenancy when someone dies

Taking the council or a housing association to court is complicated. You’ll need a solicitor to represent you and help you apply.

Before taking the council or a housing association to court

You must make a written complaint before taking legal action.

Follow our guidance on:

If you have repair problems, follow our guidance on making a complaint about repairs in council or housing association homes.

Getting legal advice

Legal advice can help you decide whether going to court is the right choice.

You may be eligible for free legal advice or legal aid to help with costs.

You can also find a solicitor on the Law Society of Scotland website.

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