Repair rights and responsibilities if you rent from a private landlord or letting agent

Your landlord has legal duties to make sure your home is of a good standard. Report repair issues to them as soon as possible. You must keep your home in good condition and let workpeople in to fix repairs.

Your landlord’s repair obligations

Your landlord must repair your home and any items they provide you.

Your landlord must meet two standards:

The repairing standard

  • your home must be wind and watertight

  • the structure and exterior of your home (for example, the walls and roof) must be in a reasonable condition

  • the internal and external installations supplying water, gas, electricity, sanitation, heating and hot water must be in a reasonable state and working properly

  • fixtures, fittings or appliances provided by your landlord (such as carpets, light fittings, white goods) must be in a reasonable state and working properly

  • furnishings provided by your landlord must be safe to use

The tolerable standard

Your home may not meet the tolerable standard and be fit to live in if:

  • it has problems with rising or penetrating damp

  • it's not structurally stable (for example, it might be subsiding)

  • there’s not enough ventilation, natural and artificial light or heating

  • there’s no suitable way for you to install cooking facilities

  • the electric supply does not meet safety regulations

  • it's not insulated well enough

  • it does not have:

Your home should meet these standards by the time you move in and throughout your tenancy.

Follow our guidance if your landlord refuses to deal with repairs. You can take action to force them to fix the problems.

Your landlord cannot add terms in your tenancy agreement to get out of their repair responsibilities.

Letting agent’s repair obligations

Even if you rent through a letting agency it's your landlord’s responsibility to meet the repairing and tolerable standards.

Letting agents have separate repair duties. They must follow a letting agent code of practice. They should either:

  • carry out the repairs themselves

  • tell the landlord so the landlord can do the repairs

Your responsibilities as a tenant

If you cause any damage your landlord can make you pay the cost of putting it right.

Allowing for normal wear and tear, your responsibilities are to:

  • report repairs as soon as possible

  • take care not to damage the property

  • keep your home reasonably clean

  • keep furniture provided in good condition

  • carry out minor maintenance (such as checking smoke alarm batteries)

  • get permission to decorate or keep pets

  • keep your home reasonably well heated (so the pipes do not freeze and burst)

If you're struggling to heat your home, contact Home Energy Scotland for advice and support.

Giving your landlord access for repairs

Before coming round to inspect or do repairs your landlord should give you at least 24 hours' notice. You have the right to 48 hours' notice if you have a private residential tenancy. They can give you less notice if there’s an emergency.

Make sure you allow access for repairs. You can refuse if your landlord wants to visit at an unsuitable time. They can get an access order from a tribunal if you consistently refuse.

How long repairs should take

They must be done in a reasonable amount of time. You can decide what is reasonable for you and then ask your landlord or letting agent to agree to it.

To decide how long you think the repair should take, ask yourself:

  • whether it’s an emergency

  • what effect it’s having on you

  • how long is fair and realistic for your landlord to fix it

If you're worried about eviction

In most cases, you cannot be evicted for asking for repairs, but you can be evicted fairly easily if you:

Your landlord must follow the correct process if they want to evict you. If they do not it could be an illegal eviction.

If you're worried that you'll be evicted for acting on your rights get advice from Shelter Scotland.

Last updated: 29 June 2022

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

Get advice if you're in England