Before you can rent out your property you have to register with the local council which covers the area where your let property is located.
Registering before you rent out your property makes sure you meet the minimum legal requirements.
Joint owners (anyone else who’s named on the title deeds) need to register too, but they won’t be charged.
You can apply for landlord registration online on the Scottish Landlord Register website, or you can contact your local council’s housing department.
There are some situations where you don’t have to register with a council to rent out a property. These include:
- holiday lets
- houses managed by religious orders
- houses with a resident landlord
- houses with agricultural and crofting tenancies
- letting to family members
- houses providing care services governed by Care Inspectorate regulation
You need a house in multiple occupancy (HMO) licence if both of the following apply:
- you want to rent your property out to 3 or more tenants
- none of the tenants are related or part of the same family
If you want to use your home in this way, there are extra criteria you’ll need to meet before the council will agree to register you.
They’ll have to decide:
- if you are ‘fit and proper’ (able) to hold an HMO licence
- if the property is managed properly
- if the property meets their required standards
Although you legally have to be registered as a landlord in Scotland, you can also apply for accreditation.
This could make tenants more likely to want to rent out your property instead of non-accredited ones.
Apply for accreditation
To apply for accreditation you can contact Landlord Accreditation Scotland and fill in their application form.
If you can confirm that you meet (or are working to meet) the standards listed in the form, you can become an accredited landlord.
Local councils may offer their own accreditation scheme or work in partnership with Landlord Accreditation Scotland.
Talking to your lender and insurers
Once you’ve registered to be a landlord, you’ll also have to discuss your plans with your mortgage lender and your insurers.
The terms of your mortgage or insurance may change if you rent out your home.
You should tell your mortgage lender about your plans to rent your property out. Some lenders have restrictions on who you can let to.
Some mortgages may have terms and conditions that stop you from renting your home out to anyone, so if you do this without consulting them you might break your contract and get into serious trouble.
When you rent your home out to other people it may have an impact on your existing buildings and contents insurance.
You should discuss the situation with your insurers and let them know you plan to have tenants move into your home.
They will give you advice on what steps you should take regarding:
- buildings insurance
- contents insurance
- property owners liability
Renewing your licence
When you application for registration is approved it’s valid for 3 years. If you want to keep letting after that you have to renew your registration.
You can apply to renew your registration on the landlord registration website up to three months before your current registration expires. Your local authority will also send you a reminder when your registration is due to expire.
If you renew your registration after it expires, you may have to pay a late fee.
You have a number of responsibilities as a landlord.
Although your letting agent may be able to carry out some of these duties on your behalf, you’ll still be responsible for them.
Any legal action that happens because these weren’t carried out will be your responsibility, not the letting agent’s.
It’s your responsibility to:
- register with the local council which covers the area where your let property is located.
- give the tenant your name and address
- register their deposit with an approved tenancy deposit scheme
- give the tenant a tenancy agreement and Tenant Information Pack
- have an Energy Performance Certificate for the property
- respect the tenant’s peace and quiet, and give them notice if you want to enter the property
- meet gas, electricity and other safety requirements
- make sure you’ve carried out a Legionella Risk Assessment
- maintain the property’s structure and how it looks on the outside
- allow adaptations for disabled people, within reason (your local council might be able to provide some support)
- make sure the property meets the Repairing Standard and give the tenant information on it
- give the tenant written notice if there’s any defect in the property or work that needs to be carried out
- take action to deal with any antisocial behaviour by your tenants in or around your property
- follow the right legal procedures if you want your tenant to leave
- consider whether a house in multiple occupancy (HMO) licence is needed
Getting paperwork ready
Before you start advertising your property, you should prepare the paperwork you’ll need later.
The two most important things you’ll need to prepare are a Tenant Information Pack and a tenancy agreement.
Tenant Information Pack
The Tenant Information Pack gives information to tenants in privately rented housing.
It tells tenants about their home, tenancy and landlord, and tells them what their responsibilities are (as well as your own responsibilities as a landlord).
It’s your legal duty to give your tenant a Tenant Information Pack by the time they move into the property.
If you’re using a letting agent, they can give one to the tenant on your behalf.