Your rights if you 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, you probably have a private residential tenancy (PRT).

A PRT is always open-ended, which means there's no end date. Your landlord cannot make you leave without a valid reason.

Your rights are different if you live with your landlord.

Your landlord’s responsibilities

There are things your landlord must do by law. If they do something wrong, ask them to put it right. If they refuse, you can apply to the First-tier Tribunal (Housing and Property Chamber) to enforce your rights.

Providing a tenancy agreement

Your landlord must give you a tenancy agreement and notes that explain the agreement. They can either:

Your landlord cannot put anything in your tenancy agreement that takes away your legal rights.

If your landlord has not given you the right documents, you can notify them that you will apply to the tribunal.

If they still have not provided the documents within 28 days, apply using form D from the tribunal’s website.

Protecting your deposit

Your landlord can ask for up to two 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. Follow our guidance 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:

Follow our guidance if you have problems with 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.

If your landlord is accessing your home without giving the proper notice, contact a Shelter Scotland adviser for help.

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.

You have the right to challenge a rent increase.

If you rent from a letting agent

They must follow the letting agent code of practice. If they do something wrong, you can make a complaint.

Your responsibilities

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 you want to move out

You must give your landlord at least 28 days’ notice in writing. Use our letter template to end your tenancy correctly.

Send your notice by email or post and add 2 days to the notice period to allow time for delivery.

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 liable for rent.

If your landlord wants you to leave

They must give you a valid notice that says why they want to evict you. The notice period depends on the reason, called a ground for eviction. Check how much notice you should get.

If you do not want to leave, your landlord cannot force you out. After the notice period has ended, they must follow the correct procedure and apply to the tribunal for an eviction order.

If you’re worried about eviction, follow our guidance on the eviction process or contact a Shelter Scotland adviser.

If your landlord changes

Your tenancy continues on 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 you to leave, they must follow the correct eviction process.

Last updated: 9 August 2022

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

Get advice if you're in England