This page gives information on the rights and responsibilities of a private landlord.
Due to the ongoing situation with the COVID-19 pandemic and the effect this is having on the private rented sector, it has been agreed that all communication to registered landlords will be issues via SMS (text message) from the UK Gov Notify service.
Should you have require any advice in relation to any communication you receive or any advice in relation to any issues you are facing within the sector due to COVID-19 please email the Landlord Registration Team on firstname.lastname@example.org
We have prepared theand the documents to help explain how services will be delivered during this time.
The Scottish Government announced on the 17th November 2020 that West Lothian would be moved to Level 4 on the COVID Tier System from Friday 20th November for three weeks. Level 4 includes measures close to those imposed in March.
Non-essential shops and offices are required to close, this will include letting agents. Property viewings should be carried out virtually, you will still be able to sign up tenants to new properties. You and any tenants in the property must observe social distancing and adhere to the Scottish Government guidance.
While West Lothian is in Level 4 landlords/letting agents should only carry out essential repairs, this includes Gas Safety and Electrical checks. A list of what Is deemed as an essential repair is contained within the Scottish Government's guidance. You can read the guidance at Scottish Government - COVID-19 local protection level 4
Tenants should still be able to report non essential repairs, landlord should keep a record of any such requests and once able to do so these repairs should be carried out. It is important that there is a great communication between landlord and tenants during this period.
The Scottish Government has released a FAQs for private landlords and tenants given the situation with Covid-19. As you are aware, this is a rapidly evolving situation and the guidance will be updated as things change. Please see Scottish Government - COVID-19 guidance for private landlords and letting agents
SDS Resolution is a new service from Safe Deposits Scotland introduced to help tenants and landlords who have experienced problems with rent arrears under lockdown.
The service is designed to establish a satisfactory resolution specifically to rent arrears, without the need for further action with the aim of helping to avoid tenants being evicted by ensuring that landlords can recover some or all of the arrears over time.
SDS Resolution is entirely separate from Safe Deposits Scotland's tenancy deposit handling and deposit dispute resolution procedures, and is available to all tenants and landlords in Scotland's private rented sector. As with all services provided by Safe Deposits Scotland, SDS Resolution is completely free to use. For further information, and steps on how to begin a resolution referral, see the SDS Resolution website. Or the Safe Deposits Scotland - Private rented sector blog which provides general helpful information.
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 which can be printed off for your use.
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.
West Lothian Council new PSL service takes you're empty private let off your hands with a guaranteed income for at least 12 months. We would like to invite landlords who have 1, 2 or 3 bedroom properties available to contact us who may be interested in the scheme. If you would like to find out more please refer to the email@example.com contact the Accommodation team on 01506 282754 (option 2) or by emailing
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.
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.
In order to meet current building standards, your property must have smoke alarms and a carbon monoxide alarm. The Private Rented Housing Panel web pages. West Lothian Home Choice can also provide you with assistance on this.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
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Private residential tenancy: information for landlords;
- Private residential tenancy: model agreement; and
- Online Tenancy Agreement Creation Tool
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.
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.
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.