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Private Landlords

This page gives information on the rights and responsibilities of a private landlord.

It can be difficult to understand all of your rights and responsibilities as a Private Landlord. The Scottish Government has produced a useful Summary of a private landlord's responsibilities when letting a property. More information on your requirements are listed below. This information is also available on the pdf icon checklist [421kb] which can be printed off for your use.

Your Responsibilities

Landlord Registration

Anyone planning to let out homes privately must be register before beginning letting. To find out more about how to register,  see Private Landlord Registration. Your registration number must be displayed at all times when advertising and on your tenancy agreement.

Insurance

You need adequate buildings and third party liability insurance cover. See the Private Rented Scotland's page on Talking to you Council, Lender and Insurer to make sure you have the right insurance in place.

Energy Performance Certificate

You are required to have a valid Energy Performance Certificate for the property. This must be displayed in the property at all times. See the Private Rented Scotland's page on Information about your property for more information.

Repairing Standard

Your property must meet the Repairing Standards. More information can be found on the Private Rented Housing Panel web pages. West Lothian Home Choice can also provide you with assistance on this.

Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Alarms

In order to meet current building standards, your property must have smoke alarms and a carbon monoxide alarm. The pdf icon Private Landlord Registration guide [233kb] explains the law and how to ensure you have the correct alarms for detecting and warning of fires. More information can be found on the Private Rented Housing Panel web pages. West Lothian Home Choice can also provide you with assistance on this.

Electrical Condition Report

Your property must be electrically safe. New legislation states that an Electrical Condition Report must now be provided to all private tenants. This must be displayed in the property at all times. West Lothian Home Choice can provide you with assistance on this.

Gas Safety (if required)

All private and social landlords are required to arrange an annual gas safety check of appliances (including boilers) by a GasSafe registered engineer. (Regulation 36 of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 (SI 1998/2451)). This must be displayed in the property at all times. West Lothian Home Choice can provide you with assistance on this.

If the safety check is carried out no more that two months before the due date it can be treated as having been carried out on the due date. (Gas Safety (Installation and Use) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 (SI 2018/139)). This makes it easier for landlords to schedule the annual safety check and allows it to be carried out up to two months early without incurring extra costs. For more information see Guidance on Gas Safety for Landlords from the HSE.

Risk Assessment Legionnaires Disease

Landlords have responsibilities to manage Legionella risks in rented homes. Health and Safety Executive Myth Busting - Legionella testing in rented homes helps put things in context. It includes links to the appropriate guidance.

Tenancy Agreements & Notices

From 1 December 2017, any new tenancy will be a private residential tenancy under the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016, with a few limited exceptions. To help landlords ensure that tenancy agreements are legal, the Scottish Government has published:

A full list of the documents required to both let and end your tenancy are available on the Renting Scotland website. To make sure that the documents landlords use are always up to date, we would urge that any documents are downloaded from there each time they are needed. This will prevent any legislative updates being missed. West Lothian Home Choice can also provide you with assistance on this.

Deposits

A tenant's deposit (if you take one) must be lodged with a tenancy deposit scheme. An inventory is advisable. West Lothian Home Choice can also provide you with assistance on this.

Advice & Assistance

West Lothian Council is committed to providing free advice and assistance to landlord and Agents in the sector. If you have any questions relating to private letting a member of the West Lothian Home Choice team will be happy to assist you. Please contact the West Lothian Home Choice team using the contact details on this page.

You can also find information on the Scottish Governments Private Renting Scotland website, Renting Scotland. Here you will find guides to help you with all areas of Private Letting.

The Scottish Government has partnered with the Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL) to produce this private residential tenancy film as part of the publicity for the new tenancy regime, which is close to being implemented.

SAL is offering all landlords and agents a free briefing with all the details about the new tenancy. SAL also offer a range of membership services including a Scottish letting helpline, free and discounted training, local meetings and events plus documentation and factsheets for letting. Please contact SAL directly to request the briefing by email, or if you'd like to find out more about the services they provide through the SAL website.

Changes to legislation - Prescribed Information

The overarching purpose of the change is to make better use of the landlord registration process to contribute to improving standards across the private rented sector. Asking for more information about compliance at the point of application will:

  • raise awareness about landlord responsibilities;
  • identify where further advice or support for landlords may be required;
  • ensure that local authorities are better informed to carry out the fit and proper person test
  • improve confidence that anyone who is approved and entered onto the register is a suitable person to let houses.

How will this be enforced?

These changes are a starting point for improving practice in the private rented sector, based on an assumption that the majority of landlords want to provide well managed, good quality and safe homes for their tenants.  The Scottish Government is working with local authorities to develop a good practice approach to scrutinising and validating the information that landlords provide.  For example, landlords may be asked to provide evidence of compliance as part of a sample check of applications.

Improving compliance at the point of application will help to address any issues at an early stage and reduce the need for local authorities to intervene later on.  Enforcement activity can then be targeted at those landlords who deliberately operate outside the law and really bring the sector into disrepute.

 

How does this affect you?

The new application journey will include questions about the following obligations:

  • the Tolerable and Repairing Standards
  • fire and carbon monoxide safety
  • gas and electrical safety
  • private water supplies and legionella risk assessment
  • energy performance certificates
  • insurance and common repairs on tenement property

The revised on-line application journey is still under development, using landlord feedback to ensure that the process is straightforward and the questions are easily understood.  Signposting to further information will be included to help landlords who are not sure what they need to do.  Provision will be made for landlords to declare if a specific duty doesn't apply.