Your rights if you live with your landlord

You have rights and responsibilities when you live with your landlord. If you have a resident landlord, you'll have a common law tenancy. If not, you could have a different type of tenancy.

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 be 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, you may not have a resident landlord.

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

Speak to a Shelter Scotland adviser to check if you should have different type of tenancy.

Your landlord’s responsibilities

Before accessing your room or spaces

Your tenancy agreement will 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. Check your rights if your landlord takes a deposit.

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 you will live there

  • which areas you have exclusive possession of

  • 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

Download a sample tenancy agreement (pdf, 134 kb)

If you do not have a written tenancy agreement, your rights do not change.

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

Use our template letter to end your tenancy correctly.

Check how much notice to give your landlord. Your tenancy agreement should say. If it does not, you must give:

  • 28 days if your fixed term was less than four months

  • 40 days if your fixed term was more than four months

A fixed term is the initial period of time you rent your home for. When you write to your landlord, make sure that the last day of your notice period is the same as the last day of your fixed term.

You can usually end your tenancy early if your landlord agrees. Get any agreement 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 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 to sign, speak to a Shelter Scotland adviser. They can help you get the correct tenancy agreement.

If your landlord asks you to leave

If your landlord wants you to leave at the end of your fixed term they must follow the correct process. Your landlord can only evict you in certain circumstances. Check your rights if your landlord asks you to leave.

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