How is renting regulated in Scotland?
While there are similarities in Scotland to the way renting is regulated in England and Wales, there are some key differences. For example, it is no longer possible to create an assured or short assured tenancy in Scotland as these have been replaced with private residential tenancies. These tenancies last until a landlord evicts the tenant for specific legal reasons, such as rent arrears or an intention to sell, or if the tenant wants to leave.
Another difference is that landlords in Scotland must be registered in the Scottish Landlord Register if they want to let out property, but they don't need to check that their tenants have the right to rent in the UK (unlike south of the border). For further information, read Landlord registration in Scotland.
Other key features of renting in Scotland include:
limits on how frequently rent can be increased
potential rent caps if a local council thinks rents are rising too high
mandatory use of an approved deposit protection scheme
What do you need to do to your property?
If you have a mortgage, one of the first things to do is contact your lender to get their permission to let and check whether there are any restrictions on how you rent your property. You'll also need to make sure you've got adequate insurance in place.
Your property also has to meet the following standards:
it is wind and watertight and in all other respects reasonably fit for human habitation
the structure and exterior of the house are in a reasonable state of repair and in proper working order
the water, gas and electricity supply and installations for sanitation and heating are in a reasonable state of repair and in proper working order
any fixtures, fittings or applications are in a reasonable state of repair
any furnishings are safe
fire and carbon monoxide alarms are installed and working
a qualified electrician carries out electrical safety inspections at least once every five years
For more information on a landlord's obligations, read Legal obligations of a landlord in Scotland.
You should also think about your local rental market and the type of tenant you want. This will help you decide whether the property should be offered furnished, part-furnished or unfurnished.
What kind of tenancy agreement should you use?
If you're renting out a whole property, you'll need a private residential tenancy agreement. There are different tenancy agreements based on what you are renting out. Use a:
Private residential tenancy for a flat where you are renting out a flat to tenants in Scotland
Private residential tenancy for a house where you are renting out a house to tenants in Scotland
Private residential tenancy for a room where you are renting out a room in a shared house to tenants in Scotland
If you're living in the property and want to take in a lodger, you should think about getting a Lodger agreement.
You might also want to consider putting in writing how you and the tenant will contact each other and send documents. This can be done by including the agreed terms in a communication agreement.
For more information, read Residential tenancies in Scotland.