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Tenants and owners obligations in Scotland

This information only applies in Scotland.

A good relationship with a tenant is one of the best ways of getting the most out of a buy-to-let investment. A first step in making sure it's a relationship that works is by being upfront and clear about each other's rights and responsibilities. Let us walk you through some of the key obligations that should be covered in a tenancy agreement.

Tenant responsibilities set out in a tenancy agreement commonly include:

  • paying rent on time

  • keeping the property clean

  • not causing damage to the property

  • replacing or fixing anything that is damaged

  • not acting antisocially

  • allowing reasonable access for repairs and inspections

  • giving at least 28 days’ notice if they want to leave the property

  • getting permission to sublet, decorate or pass the tenancy on to someone else

  • telling the landlord, in writing, about any person living in the property who is 16 or over and not a joint tenant

Landlord responsibilities set out in a tenancy agreement commonly include:

  • registering as a landlord with every local authority area that a house is being let out in

  • respecting the tenant’s peace and quiet

  • giving at least 48 hours’ notice if they want to enter the property

  • ensuring the property is safe

  • maintaining and carrying out repairs to the property

  • giving the tenant notice of any defect in the property or work that needs to be carried out

  • maintaining HMO licenses, where applicable 

  • giving the necessary notice to tenants when terminating the tenancy

By February 2022, all homes in Scotland must meet new fire and smoke alarm standards. This means that homes home must have all of the following:

  • a carbon monoxide alarm - if you have a flue or fuel-burning appliance (eg a boiler or wood burner)

  • a smoke alarm in the room you use most during the day (eg a living room or lounge)

  • a smoke alarm in every circulation space on each storey (eg hallways and landings)

  • a heat alarm in every kitchen

All smoke and heat alarms must be on the ceiling, powered by mains or lithium batteries and interlinked by radiofrequency and not WiFi. Alarms being interlinked means that if one alarm detects smoke or fire, all of the alarms will sound. 

Homeowners and landlords will have to pay any costs to meet the new standards.

You can maintain a good relationship with your tenant by being organised and committed to your responsibilities under the letting agreement. This can include dealing with maintenance and repairs on a regular basis, being clear about how you’ll get in touch with the tenant if you need to contact them and setting down house rules so the tenant is aware of what is expected of them from the beginning of the tenancy. A good business-like relationship with a tenant will help avoid any problems that might arise in the future.

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