A Guide for Private Tenants

The information on this page is based on our leaflet A Guide for Private Tenants (PDF) (currently being updated).

If you rent, or are considering renting privately it is important to know what your rights and responsibilities are in relation to your accommodation as well as where you can go for advice.

Renting a property creates a legal relationship between tenant and landlord.  This means that you both have a number of rights and certain responsibilities or duties.  This page provides a general guide to assured tenancies.  If you are not sure about your position or have a dispute with your landlord, you should get advice from Citizens Advice Scotland Citizens Advice, Shelter or our Housing Options Team.

The Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016 took effect from December 2017. The Act introduced a new type of tenancy known as a 'Private Residential Tenancy' this is the only tenancy agreement legally permitted to be created after this date.  For more information you can visit the Scottish Government web page where you will also find a model tenancy agreement and supporting notes.

Finding private rented accommodation

There are number of private rented properties, including furnished and unfurnished bedsits, flats and family-sized houses available to rent in Moray.

To find accommodation you can:

• Check adverts in local newspapers:
• Check local shop windows and libraries for notices.
• Contact local letting agents in Moray.
• Properties to rent or share are often listed on the internet on sites such as Facebook, Gumtree..

Remember that any reference you can supply to a potential landlord may help (for example, a letter from your employer or a previous landlord stating that you were a good tenant).


Landlord Registration

By law, private landlords must register with the local authority where the rental property is located.  This is a public register, which you can check online here .  We only register landlords who we think are ‘fit and proper’  to let residential property.  

For tenants, registration provides an assurance that your home will be properly managed and we have seen evidence that the property meets the legal safety requirements with regard to gas and electrical safety.  

Before you enter into a lease agreement with a landlord, you should be satisfied that the property has been registered.  To report an unregistered landlord, you can email landlord.registratio@moray.gov.uk

Renting from a resident landlord

If your landlord lives with you in the property and this is their only or main home then it is likely that they are a resident landlord .  There must also be direct access between your part of the house and the landlords, living in the same home as your landlord even if you have your own area in the property would still make them a resident landlord.  

If you have a resident landlord, you do not have the same rights as a tenant whose landlord does not stay in the same property however you will have some rights.  For example, your landlord will usually have to give you a written Notice to Quit when they want you to leave and you will be protected against harassment and being evicted illegally although they will not require a court order to remove you from the property in all situations.  

The law relating to renting from a resident landlord is very complicated and will depend on the circumstances of each case.  You should contact Citizens Advice, Shelter or our Housing Options Team if you have any disputes with your resident landlord.

Your rights and responsibilities

Your rights and responsibilities

Before you move into the property, your landlord must give you a Tenant Information Pack as part of your Private Residential Tenancy agreement.  However, this will be different if you have a resident landlord.  

A tenancy agreement should contain:

•the names of the landlord and the tenant;
•the address of the rental property;
The areas of the property and communal areas to be occupied
•the amount of rent, when and how it is to be paid and the process for any increases
•a copy of the tenants information pack known as Easy Read notes which outlines the landlord and tenants requirements with regard to the repairing standard.

Your landlord cannot legally put any clauses in your tenancy agreement that limit or exclude rights given to you by law.  If your landlord adds clauses to your tenancy agreement that restrict your rights as a tenant these clauses will not be enforceable.

As the tenant you have the right to:
•know the terms of the tenancy;
•know the name and address of your landlord;
•a decent standard of repair;
•proper legal notice if your landlord wants you to move out; and
•'quiet enjoyment' while staying in the property.  (This means you have the right to live in your home without interference from your landlord).

You are responsible for paying your rent on time and in full, making sure the fixtures, fittings, furniture and contents are not damaged as a result of you or anyone living with or visiting you acting carelessly.  You also should allow access to the property for repairs.

If you do not have a tenancy agreement, or the one you have does not fairly reflect the terms of the tenancy, you can apply to the First Tier Tribunal to have one drawn up or to have the existing one adjusted.


Fees, premiums or extra charges

The Scottish Government has made clear that it is illegal for landlords and letting agents to charge for anything over and above rent and a deposit.  This means that you must not be charged extra for things like credit checks or reference checks.

Repairs and the Repairing Standard

Under the Repairing Standard, your landlord must make sure that:

  • The property is water tight and protected from the wind, and reasonably fit for people to live in;
  • The structure and outside of the property (including drains, gutters and outside pipes) are in reasonable repair and proper working order.
  • The systems in the property for supplying water, gas  and electricity, for heating and for getting rid of waste water are in reasonable repair and proper working order (including systems outside the house but serving it, and which the owner is responsible for maintaining, either individually or jointly);
  • Any fixtures, fittings and appliances provided under the tenancy are in reasonable repair and proper working order;
  • Any furnishings provided under the tenancy are capable of being used safely for the purpose they were designed for; and
  • The fire detection installed in the property meets the minimum legal standards of:

    • one functioning smoke alarm in the room which is frequently used by the occupants for general daytime living purposes (normally the living room/lounge),
    • one functioning smoke alarm in every circulation space on each storey, such as hallways and landings, or in main room if no landing in upper storey
    • one heat alarm in every kitchen,
    • all alarms should be ceiling mounted, or tamperproof long life batteries
    • all alarms should be interlinked.

  • The house has satisfactory provision for giving warning if carbon monoxide is present in a concentration that is hazardous to health

Gas and electrical safety

Landlords are responsible for ensuring that every property they rent out is safe.  To do this there are a number of requirements your landlord must meet.

Your landlord must give you a copy of the gas safety certificate that has been issued by a Gas Safe registered engineer.  All gas appliances must be inspected annually by a Gas Safe engineer.

You should also receive a copy of the Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) or (EIC for new installations).  This is an inspection of the safety and overall condition of all the electrical installations and fittings in the property.  This should be completed by a qualified electrical contractor and should be renewed every 5 years as a minimum.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

By law, your landlord has to display an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) in the property within the property and on any marketing for the property.  This is a document which explains how energy efficient a property is. An EPC will help you to compare properties and work out which will have lower energy bills.

Furnished accommodation

There are legal standards for the furniture in a home. Furniture must meet fire safety standards and must be safe and capable of being used for the purpose it was designed. All electrical appliances must be safe for use and tested regularly.  Full details of what you can expected in private rented accommodation can be found here https://www.mygov.scot/furnished-homes


Your landlord may ask you for a deposit as security against things like unpaid utility bills or rent arrears.  It could also cover loss or damage to the property and its contents (but not fair wear and tear).  A deposit is usually the same as one month’s rent but it should not exceed two months’ rent.  To avoid a dispute with your landlord, you should both fill in and sign an inventory.  An inventory records the contents and their condition before a tenant moved in.  

Under the Tenancy Deposit Schemes (Scotland) Regulations 2011  private landlords have to pay deposits into a scheme and provide you with evidence that they have done so.  The scheme will protect you from landlords who unfairly withhold deposits and make sure that disputes are handled fairly.

Housing and Property Chamber (First-tier Tribunal for Scotland)

The Housing and Property Chamber can help if your landlord has not met their responsibilities under the Repairing Standard.  You can apply to the panel if you have tried to settle the matter with your landlord and feel that they have failed to meet their duties.

The Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 amended the Repairing Standard legislation to allow a Third Party (specifically the Local Authority) to make applications in the same manner as the tenant but only on matter relating to the tolerable and repairing standard.

Universal Credit Housing Cost

If you are on a low income or benefits, you may be entitled to help with paying your rent.  Before you sign your tenancy agreement, you should contact the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to see what you may be entitled to.

Council Tax

Unless your are going to be living in a ‘house of multiple occupation’ (see next section) then you will usually be responsible for paying Council Tax, however sometimes this cost may be included in your rent.  If you need more information on Council Tax contact our Revenues Section.

House of Multiple Occupation

A House of Multiple Occupation (HMO) is a property that is rented out by at least 3 unrelated adults who share a bathroom/ toilet and kitchen.  Landlords are required to obtain an HMO license, to do so they must be found to be a fit and proper person and the property will be inspected to ensure it meets the legal requirements.  If you are considering renting a room in an HMO you should ask the landlord to see a copy of the HMO license.  

Disabled adaptations

You should get your landlord’s permission before adapting your home, however your landlord cannot unreasonably withhold permission.  If you think you may be eligible you should contact your G.P who can arrange for an assessment with an Occupational Therapist to see what support and funding may be available. You may also find the information in our leaflet ‘Housing Options for People with Disabilities’ helpful.

Housing support

If you need extra support (such as home care) so you can live independently for as long as possible in your own home, you should contact your local community care team or Housing Support Team for more information.

Notice to end a tenancy and take possession of the property

If you are asked to leave your accommodation, you have received a Notice to Quit from your landlord, or your landlord tells you that they have begun court proceedings for possession of the property, you should not move without speaking to Citizens Advice, Shelter or our Housing Options Team

Protection against harassment and unlawful eviction

A landlord must do the following before they take possession of the property: 

  • serve you with a valid Notice to Quit;
  • serve you with a Notice of Proceedings, which says that they have begun proceedings to take possession of the property; and
  • get an order for possession from the First Tier Tribunal.

If your landlord fails to get a court order and tries to evict you from your home, he or she may be committing a criminal offence.  Similarly, if they try to make you leave by intimidation, violence, withholding services such as gas or electricity or any other sort of interference, this is also illegal and you should contact the Police .You should contact Citizens Advice, Shelter or our Housing Options Team.

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