Before you Rent out a Property
If you are thinking about renting out a property, there are certain things that you, by law, must do.
Who has to register?
Most landlords in Scotland must register with the local authority where the rental property is located. It is the owner of the property who must register. Owners must also declare any agents that they use to manage their property. An agent may be a professional such as a letting agent or solicitor, or a friend or relative who looks after the property, arranges repairs, collects rents and so on.
For more information or to check if a property is registered, visit the Scottish Government's Landlord Registration website. If you need help registering online phone us on 0300 1234 566.
We will enforce current legislation, promote good practice, protect private tenants and remove unfit private landlords from the market through our enforcement policy.
If you do not have a 'buy to let' mortgage you must tell your mortgage lender that you want to rent your property. If you don't, renting out the property may breach the terms of your loan. If you don't tell your mortgage lender they may 'call up' the loan, resulting in repossession of the property.
You will need buildings insurance. Insurers need to know who is living in your property in order to calculate the risk. You should tell your buildings insurance company if you decide to rent out your property.
You should check with HM Revenues and Custom or your accountant about how tax is calculated on rental income.
Number of People who may live at the property
Only those allowed to live at a property by the tenancy agreement should occupy it. If too many people live there, meaning it is overcrowded, the council may take steps to prevent the overcrowding continuing.
When three or more unrelated people live in a rented property, the property must be licensed as a House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO).
Before you can market a property you have to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) (PDF). This report gives the property an energy rating, which shows how energy efficient the property is. This can give tenants an indication of how much their energy bills could be and help them decide whether or not to rent the property. An EPC is valid for 10 years.
New requirements have been introduced which mean that:
- EPCs must be shown to potential tenants and a copy must be given to any incoming tenants.
- EPCs give cost effective and feasible recommendations that could improve the energy efficiency of the property.
- Any advertisement includes the EPC rating, for example in newspapers, property schedules and on the Internet.
How can I improve my property's energy rating?
Our 'Energy advice for private landlords' page has more information on improving energy performance, explains where you can get advice and schemes that may be available to help you improve your rental property.
You must make sure your property meets current health and safety requirements. Find out more about your health and safety responsibilities.
This checklist (PDF) summarises the things that you should do before you rent out a property.
Scottish Association of Landlords
You may want to find out more about Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL) . SAL represents the interests of all landlords and letting agents throughout Scotland. Members can access helpful resources such as a free helpline, training opportunities and electronic newsletters.
Housing and Property