Responsibilities as a landlord if you rent out your home
If you take in a lodger or rent out your home, you will have responsibilities as the landlord. The rights of your tenant will depend on the type of tenancy they have.
Rights to privacy
As a landlord, it's important you respect your tenant's rights to live in the property. You do not have the right to enter the property without the tenant's permission (or to enter your lodger's room without permission), although you do have the right to enter if you need to carry out repair work, provided you give your tenant reasonable notice.
Even if your tenant is causing problems, be careful not to do anything that can be construed as harassment. Harassment can include:
cutting off water, gas or electricity supplies
entering the premises late at night without permission
behaving in an intimidating way
insulting your tenant because of their race, gender or sexuality.
Harassing tenants is a criminal offence - don't do it!
Communication between landlord and tenant is very important if the tenancy is to be a success. Make sure your tenant knows how to contact you, so that they can get in touch if they need to. If problems arise, for example if repair work needs done or if your tenant is falling behind with their rent, act quickly to put the situation right.
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 Shelter rent book) or by keeping bank statements showing the payments made. If the rent is paid weekly, you have to provide a rent book. Read the page on charging rent to find out more.
As a landlord, you will be responsible for repairing and maintaining the property and for getting a valid gas safety certificate each year. The section on repairs explains in more detail landlords' responsibilities in this area.
Asking your tenant to leave
If you want your subtenant or lodger to leave, you have to give them a valid notice to quit. If you try to evict them without following the correct procedure, you will be committing a criminal offence. The section on eviction explains what landlords must do if they want their tenants to leave.
If you are letting out your home, you must register with your local council, unless you are specifically exempt. It is a criminal offence not to do so.
Find out more about landlord registration.
If you rent your home out to three or more tenants who are not part of the same family, you will need to get a licence from the council to operate a House in Multiple Occupation, or HMO. Go to the page on HMOs to find out more about your responsibilities and read the Scottish Government's guide for HMO landlords to find out how to apply for a licence.
Advice and support for landlords
If you are a landlord needing further advice or support the following websites may be helpful.
Scottish Government - Advice for landlords: information and advice on being a landlord in Scotland
Landlord Accreditation Scotland: promoting best practice in the private rented sector by offering training and education across the country
Scottish Association of Landlords: members have access to a free telephone advice service
Last updated: 17 February 2021