Skip to main content
Shelter Logo

Your rights if you live with your landlord

If you have a resident landlord, you'll usually have a common law tenancy.

A common law tenancy is covered by the agreement you make with your landlord. You still have rights even if you do not have a written agreement.

If your landlord rents your home from someone else, they'll be subletting to you. Check your rights if you're a subtenant.

Check if you have a resident landlord

To count as a resident landlord, your landlord must:

  • use the property as their only or main home

  • be living there when you move in

  • have direct access from their accommodation to yours

For example, if you have a room in your landlord’s flat, and they can enter your room from a shared hallway, you have a resident landlord.

If you live in separate flats in the same building, you do not have a resident landlord.

If your landlord lives somewhere else and only stays with you occasionally, they may not count as a resident landlord.

If you think your resident landlord does not meet these requirements, you may have stronger rights.

Contact a Shelter Scotland adviser to check your tenancy rights.

Getting an agreement in writing

Ask your landlord to give you a written tenancy agreement. This is a contract that should say what your rights and responsibilities are, such as:

  • how much rent you pay

  • how long your tenancy is for

  • which room or area of the home you're renting

  • how much notice to give if you want to move out

  • if someone can move in with you

  • if you can give your tenancy to someone else

This is sometimes called a lodger agreement.

Download a sample lodger agreement (pdf, 134 kb)

Your landlord’s responsibilities

Respecting your privacy

Your tenancy agreement should say which rooms or areas only you can use. Your landlord should not enter them without your permission. This is called exclusive possession.

Doing repairs

Your landlord is responsible for most repairs in your home.

Taking a deposit

If your landlord asks for a deposit when you move in, they cannot charge more than 2 months' rent.

Your landlord does not need to protect your deposit in a deposit scheme.

Your responsibilities

You must:

  • pay rent on time

  • take care of the property and keep it clean

  • tell your landlord if repairs need fixed

  • get permission from your landlord if you want to redecorate

  • give notice correctly if you want to move out

If you want to move out

Your tenancy agreement should say how much notice you must give. If it does not say, you should usually give at least 28 days’ notice.

Use our letter template to end your tenancy correctly.

You can end your tenancy early if your landlord agrees. Get any agreements in writing so there are no misunderstandings.

If you want someone else to take over your tenancy, you'll need your landlord’s written permission.

If your landlord moves out

You'll automatically have a private residential tenancy, which gives you stronger rights. Your landlord is responsible for giving you the correct agreement.

If your landlord does not give you a new tenancy agreement when they move out, check our advice on getting a private residential tenancy agreement.

If your landlord asks you to leave

If your landlord wants you to move out they must follow the correct process. You can negotiate for more time if you need it.

Check our advice on eviction if you live with your landlord.

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