Your rights if you have a private residential tenancy
You probably have a private residential tenancy if you rent from a private landlord or letting agency, and your tenancy started on or after 1 December 2017. It's sometimes called a PRT.
A private residential tenancy is always open-ended, which means there's no end date. Your landlord cannot make you leave without a valid reason.
Your landlord’s responsibilities
Your landlord has legal responsibilities.
Most private landlords must be on a council register. Check if your landlord should be registered.
If your landlord does something wrong, ask them to put it right. If they refuse, you can:
Providing a tenancy agreement
Your landlord must give you a tenancy agreement and notes that explain the agreement. They can either:
create their own tenancy agreement and give you the supporting notes
If your landlord has not given you these, check our advice on getting your landlord to give you a tenancy agreement.
Your landlord cannot put anything in your tenancy agreement that takes away your legal rights.
Protecting your deposit
Your landlord can ask for up to 2 months’ rent as a tenancy deposit. They must pay it into a deposit protection scheme and send you the details within 30 working days of your tenancy starting.
If they do not, you can apply to the tribunal for compensation. Check our advice if your deposit has not been protected.
Doing repairs and keeping your home safe
Your landlord is responsible for most repairs in your home.
They must also provide:
Check our advice if your landlord is not doing repairs.
Giving notice for access
If your landlord needs to access your home for repairs, inspections or valuations, they must give you at least 48 hours' notice in writing.
They can give less notice if they need access for emergency repairs.
You can refuse access if your landlord wants to visit at an unreasonable time or turns up unannounced.
Giving notice of a rent increase
Your landlord can put your rent up any time in the first year of your tenancy, and once every 12 months after that.
They must send you a rent-increase notice at least 3 months in advance of the change, and you have the right to challenge it. See an example of a rent-increase notice on gov.scot.
If you rent from a letting agent
All letting agencies must follow the letting agent code of practice.
You can make a complaint about your letting agency if they do not follow the code.
If your landlord wants you to leave
Your landlord or letting agent cannot just tell you to leave. They must:
give you a valid eviction notice in writing
apply to a tribunal for an eviction order if you do not move out
Your eviction notice must tell you the reason, called a ground for eviction. The amount of notice you should get depends on the ground.
You do not have to move out by the date on your eviction notice. You have the right to stay in your home until the tribunal process is finished. You can ask the tribunal to stop or delay the eviction.
If your landlord is trying to force you out without following the correct process, this is illegal. Check our advice on dealing with illegal eviction.
You can also contact a Shelter Scotland adviser if you're being evicted.
If you want to move out
You must give your landlord at least 28 days’ notice in writing.
Add 2 days to the notice period to allow time for your landlord to receive your letter or email.
If you want to give less notice, you must get written permission from your landlord.
If your landlord asks you to give more notice, you do not have to agree to this. If you choose to agree to a longer notice period, this must be done in writing after the tenancy has started.
Moving out when you have a joint tenancy
If everyone on the tenancy wants to leave, you must all give notice in writing.
If only you want to leave, you cannot end the tenancy yourself. You can ask your landlord's permission to sign your part of the tenancy over to the remaining tenants or a new tenant.
Get written confirmation that you're no longer on the tenancy. If you leave without properly ending your tenancy, you could still be charged rent.
Your tenancy agreement explains your responsibilities. These include:
paying your rent on time
taking care of the property and keeping it clean
reporting any repair problems and allowing access for repairs
telling your landlord if you’ll be away from home for more than 14 days
not causing a nuisance to your neighbours
asking permission if you want to sublet, redecorate, or keep pets
You may have other responsibilities too. If you break any of the terms of your tenancy agreement, your landlord could try to evict you.
If your landlord changes
Your tenancy continues with the same terms if:
your landlord sells your home while you’re a tenant
your landlord dies and someone else inherits the property
Your new landlord cannot make you sign a new tenancy agreement. If they want to increase the rent or evict you, they must follow the correct process.
Last updated: 2 November 2023