A Guide to Renting Privately in Scotland
Rent and Deposits
When you move into rented accommodation, most private landlords or letting agents ask for a deposit.
A deposit is a sum of money which acts as a guarantee against:
damage you may do to the property
cleaning bills if you leave the property in poor condition
unpaid bills, such as energy or telephone bills
any unpaid rent
A deposit cannot be used to replace items that are damaged or worn due to normal wear and tear, such as worn carpets and furniture.
Tenancy deposit schemes
A tenancy deposit scheme is where your deposit money will be stored during your tenancy.
The tenancy deposit schemes are run by independent companies. There are three schemes:
Within 30 working days of the tenancy beginning your landlord must give you the following information:
how much the deposit is
what date the landlord received the deposit
what date it was registered with the deposit scheme
which scheme it was registered with and contact details for the scheme
The tenancy deposit scheme should get in touch with you directly to confirm that the landlord had done this.
Be wary if a letting agent or landlord asks you to use any scheme for deposits other than those listed above. Read any small print before agreeing to use any other scheme as they will not offer the same protection.
My deposit is not registered
Contact each of the three deposit schemes and ask if your deposit is registered with them.
Each scheme has an enquiry form to request this information. You can also call them. These telephone numbers may not be free to call.
Deposit enquiry form
0333 321 9402
Safe Deposits Scotland
Deposit Enquiry Form
Letting Protection Service Scotland
Deposit Enquiry Form
0330 303 0031
If the deposit is not registered with any of the schemes you will be entitled to compensation. Getting written confirmation from each scheme is important evidence to have when applying for compensation.
You can apply to the First-tier Tribunal Housing and Property Chamber either during your tenancy or up to three months after the tenancy has ended.
If you apply to the tribunal during your tenancy then the tribunal can make the landlord register the deposit with a scheme.
Getting your deposit back
Your landlord should tell the tenancy deposit scheme when your tenancy ends. They will tell the scheme if they want to make deductions from your deposit before it is returned to you.
The deposit scheme will ask you if you agree with the deductions. If you do not agree then you can request a dispute resolution.
Dispute resolution for registered deposits
If you ask to use the resolution process then your landlord has to enter into it with you.
You may need to show that you have tried to negotiate with your landlord first.
The scheme will take into account evidence that you and your landlord give them. A decision should be reached within 20 working days.
You can ask for a review if you disagree with the decision.
Check our main site for more information and help on deposits.
You and your landlord will agree on the amount of rent to be paid before your tenancy starts. Your tenancy agreement should state:
how much your rent is
what does the rent cover (does it include council tax or gas, electricity or phone bills?)
when is the rent due (weekly, monthly, etc)
on which date should the rent be paid
how should be the rent paid (standing order, direct debit, cheque or cash)
Help with your rent
If you are on a low income or you are already receiving other benefits, you may be entitled to help to pay your rent from universal credit or housing benefit.
If you are already claiming universal credit or housing benefit, but it does not cover all of the rent, you may be able to claim a discretionary housing payment to help with the difference, or even to help towards paying off the arrears.
You should also arrange for a benefits check with a specialist adviser. Even if you're already claiming benefits, you may not be claiming everything you're entitled to.
If you have rent arrears, don't ignore them! If you are behind with your rent, your landlord will have grounds to start legal proceedings for eviction. Contact your landlord to discuss how you will clear your arrears. Landlords are much more likely to be sympathetic if they know that you are trying to resolve the matter.
Increases in rent
Private residential tenancy
If you have a private residential tenancy, your landlord can only increase the rent once every 12 months. To increase the rent they have to give you at least 3 months notice, using the prescribed ‘Rent-Increase Notice’ form.
You can find an example of this on the Scottish Government page Private residential tenancy: prescribed notices and forms
If you agree to the rent increase it will become payable when the notice expires. If you don’t agree to the increase, you can refer the proposed increase to the rent officer. This has to happen within 21 days of you receiving the original notice. The rent officer will make an order stating the rent payable and from which date that rent will come into force.
Short assured and assured tenancies
If you are an assured tenant, when the fixed term expires your rent can be increased if:
your tenancy agreement states a procedure for increasing the rent or
your landlord gives you notice to change the terms of your tenancy, including the rent charged, on an AT1(L) form (only after serving you with a notice to quit) or
your landlord gives you a written notice of the proposed increase on an AT2 form (they can only give you one AT2 notice per year)
Landlords of short assured tenancies do not have to follow the above procedure. however, your rent cannot be increased during the fixed term of the tenancy, and the landlord should give you good notice of their intention to increasing the rent.
If you think the rent increase is too high, both assured and short assured tenants have the right to go to apply to the First Tier Tribunal Housing and Property Chamber for their rent to be set.
Last updated: 15 September 2021