Housing Options Guide 3
Section 3. Private rented housing
Private rented sector
The private rented sector is becoming more popular. There are a range of accommodation types available, including furnished and unfurnished properties, bedsits, and family homes. In Moray, the private rented sector is quite small.
Most private landlords only have one or two properties to rent and use different methods to advertise when they have an empty property. There is no single place where potential tenants can access this information. If you are considering renting from a private landlord you will find more information on our Guide for Private Tenants. You may be able to find out more about private rental opportunities by contacting local property agents. Use our list of Local Property Agents to find out their contact details.
All private sector landlords must be registered with the Scottish Landlord Register. If you want to register as a private sector landlord you will find more information on our page for Private Sector Housing.
Sharing, or renting a room, has become more popular as more people struggle to afford private rental accommodation or a mortgage. From the landlord's point of view it helps to pay their rent or mortgage. As a lodger you may be able to secure an improved property if it’s the landlord’s home as well as yours, and it is often cheaper than renting your own place. By sharing, it is often possible to live in a better area than you could afford otherwise.
The Government's Rent-a-Room Scheme allows owner occupiers and tenants to receive tax-free rental income if you provide furnished accommodation in your only or main home.
The Scheme lets you earn up to £7500 per year tax-free. This reduces to £3,750 if someone else receives income from letting accommodation in the same property, such as a joint owner. The limit is the same even if you let accommodation for less than 12 months.
The Rent-a-Room Scheme is designed to encourage people to take in lodgers.
What you have to do:
- You let a room, or part of your main property (it can be a whole floor but not a self-contained flat)
- It must be furnished (unfurnished rooms do not qualify)
- You don’t have to be a home owner. If you have your landlord’s consent you can take advantage of the scheme as a tenant.
- If you don’t normally fill out a tax return, and the income is below £7,500 (around £625 per month) you don’t even have to do anything, the exemption is automatic. If the amount you earn is above, just let the tax office know.
- If you usually fill out a tax return, first consider whether you are better off in the scheme or not. Under the scheme you can’t claim expenses for wear and tear, insurance etc. so you may be better off out of the scheme. If you spend more on decorating a room and keeping it in order than you make, you’ll make a loss and not be liable for any tax.
The following links will give you more information about sharing accommodation, the rent-a-room scheme and taking in a lodger.