How to pay rent

This section details how, when and to whom rent should be paid.

This content applies to Scotland

To whom should rent be paid

The tenant should pay rent direct to the landlord unless the lease/agreement stipulates otherwise. If an agent or third party is involved, then rent may be paid through her/him. The tenant should check what the lease says and/or what the practice has been.

When should rent be paid

The timing of rent payments is usually agreed between landlord and tenant at the start of the tenancy. It may be paid in arrears, for example weekly on Fridays, or in advance, for example on the first day of every month. Where no special arrangement has been made, agreement as to payment is established through custom and practice. The landlord can only demand rent for one rental period at a time. So, for example, if the rental period is one month, no more than a month's rent may be required in advance. Rent due on a Bank Holiday does not have to be paid until the next day. If rent is due on a Sunday however it should be paid on the Sunday.

How should rent be paid

The agreement between landlord and tenant may state how the rent should be paid. If the agreement is silent about this, payment should be made in cash. If a tenant wishes to pay by cheque or by standing order, s/he should offer payment by either of these methods, to establish whether the landlord objects. If there has been an established and accepted method of payment, the landlord cannot suddenly refuse payment by this method. Payment should be made to the landlord unless payment to someone else, for example, an agency, has been authorised by the landlord.

In private residential tenancies, where rent is paid in cash, a written receipt must be provided to the tenant which includes the amount paid and either, confirmation of any balance or confirmation that there are no arrears. [1]

It is the tenant's responsibility to get the rent to the landlord, not the landlord's responsibility to collect it. This is the case even when the landlord normally collects rent. If the landlord stops collecting the rent, it is the tenant's responsibility to find another way of getting the rent to the landlord which s/he accepts.

Rent books

Where an assured tenant pays a weekly rent, the landlord is legally obliged to provide a rent book. [2] Under the Assured Tenancies (Rent Book) (Scotland) Regulations 1988 (as amended [3]), it must contain the landlord's name and address, the amount of rent to be paid and a summary of the basic rights that a tenant has under the Housing (Scotland) Act 1988.

Failure to comply with this is an offence. [4] This applies to any tenant who actually pays rent weekly, even if the rent is calculated on a monthly or annual basis.

Whether a tenant has a legal right to a rent book or not, it is usually advisable to obtain one, as it will provide a useful record of rent paid or owed should a dispute arise.

What if the landlord refuses to accept the rent

If the landlord refuses to accept rent, for example, because s/he wants the tenant to leave the property, the tenant should:

  • write to the landlord confirming her/his willingness to pay rent

  • keep a copy of the letter

  • save the rent, as it will have to be paid eventually, even though the landlord has refused to accept it.

Also, the tenant could deposit the rent into a special savings account, marking the account clearly as a rent account.

Last updated: 3 February 2020

Footnotes

  • [1]

    Sch. 2 para.1 Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016

  • [2]

    s.30(4) Housing (Scotland) Act 1988

  • [3]

    by the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 (Consequential Amendments) Order 2007 SSI 2007/475

  • [4]

    s.30(6) Housing (Scotland) Act 1988