Your rights if you have a short assured tenancy
You could have a short assured tenancy if you rent from a private landlord or letting agent, and you moved in before 1 December 2017.
Short assured tenancies can no longer be created. If you still have one, it automatically continues until you or your landlord gives valid notice to end it.
Check if you have a short assured tenancy
You'll only have a short assured tenancy if all of the following apply:
your tenancy started between 2 January 1989 and 1 December 2017
the initial term of your tenancy was at least 6 months
your landlord gave you a valid AT5 form before you moved in
If you do not have a short assured tenancy
an assured tenancy if you were not given a valid AT5 form
a private residential tenancy if you moved in on or after 1 December 2017
a common law tenancy if you live with your landlord
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 that states how long your tenancy is for, how much the rent is and when you should pay it.
The agreement may also include terms such as:
when the rent can be put up and by how much
if you’re allowed to redecorate, have pets or sublet
when and how your tenancy can be passed to someone else
if you can leave before the end of the fixed term
Your landlord must stick to the terms of your tenancy agreement. They cannot put anything in the agreement that takes away your legal rights.
If you pay rent weekly, your landlord must also provide a rent book.
Download an example rent book (pdf, 496 kb)
If your landlord has not given you an agreement in writing, you still have rights. You can apply to the tribunal to make your landlord give you a tenancy agreement or rent book.
Use form G on the tribunal’s website. In section 7a of the application form, write 'rule 68'.
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 or inspections, they must give you at least 24 hours’ notice in writing. They can give less notice if access is required 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 cannot increase the rent during your fixed term unless you agree to it, or your tenancy agreement says it will be increased.
After the fixed term ends, your landlord can increase the rent whenever your tenancy renews.
If you think an increase is unfair, you can ask the tribunal to set your rent. Check our advice on rent increases.
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.
How long your tenancy is for
Your tenancy agreement should state a fixed term. This must be at least 6 months.
When the fixed term ends, if neither you or your landlord has given valid notice to end it, your tenancy is automatically renewed. This is called tacit relocation.
Your tenancy agreement might say how long it will be renewed for. For example, it could be for an initial fixed term of 6 months and then renewed monthly after that.
If not, the agreement is renewed for the same amount of time as the initial fixed term. For example, if your fixed term was 6 months, the agreement is renewed for another 6 months.
Your tenancy agreement can only be renewed for up to 1 year at a time.
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
To evict you during your fixed term, your eviction notice must tell you the reason, called a ground for eviction. The amount of notice you should get depends on the ground.
To evict you at the end of your fixed term, your landlord can give you an eviction notice without a reason.
In both cases, 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
Moving out at the tenancy end date
You must give your landlord notice in writing that you want the tenancy to end.
Your tenancy agreement might say how much notice you need to give. If not, you must give notice at least 40 days before the tenancy end date.
Add 2 days to your notice period to give your landlord time to receive your email or letter. It's important to send your notice in time to stop your tenancy from automatically renewing.
Moving out before the tenancy end date
Your tenancy agreement might say that you can end the tenancy early and how much notice you need to give.
If your tenancy agreement does not allow this, you can try to negotiate with your landlord. Get any agreements in writing to avoid misunderstandings.
If they do not agree, you'll have to keep paying rent until the tenancy end date.
If you want to pass your tenancy to someone else
You need your landlord’s permission.
Your tenancy agreement might tell you what you do if you want to pass on your tenancy. If it does not, ask the landlord to agree in writing that the tenancy will be taken over by a new tenant.
Your tenancy agreement should explain 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
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 short assured 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 to increase the rent or evict you, they must follow the correct process.
Last updated: 2 November 2023