Tenant grant fund
The Scottish Government has set up a Tenant Grant Fund to provide financial help to tenants in social housing and in the private sector who are at risk of becoming homeless because they fallen have behind with rent payments during the pandemic.
Find out more and how to apply for the Tenant Grant Fund
There are no restrictions on how much rent a landlord can charge for their property. The rent is a matter for agreement between the landlord and the tenant.
The rent can be paid weekly, monthly, annually or for some other period by cash, cheque or some other method. It is important the landlord and tenant are aware when the rent is due and how the payment will be made. If the payments are being made weekly then the landlord must provide a rent book and receipts.
The rent book should state:
- the landlord or agents name and address
- the amount of rent to be paid
- a summary of the basic rights that a tenant has
- address of the property and the tenants name
Private residential tenancy agreement rent increase
If the tenancy agreement is a Private Residential Tenancy agreement (PRT), from 1 December 2017, then the rent can only be increased once in a year (you have to wait 12 months before it can be increased again).
If you want to increase the amount of rent your tenant pays you, you have to give at least three months written notice before you can do this. You must use the Rent Increase Notice form to give your tenant notice of a rent increase ( guidance note for completion).
The notice period begins on the date the tenant gets the notice, and ends three months after that date or, if there is no such date, the last day of the month. So if you send the rent increase notice to your tenant by post or email, you must allow the tenant 48 hours to receive it. This delivery time should be factored into the amount of notice you give your tenant.
Short assured tenancy agreement rent increase
If the tenancy agreement is a Short Assured Tenancy (SAT) then the rent on a property can be increased if both landlord and tenant agree. However there will be times when both parties are not in agreement, therefore the Housing (Scotland) Act 1988 lays down three specific circumstances in which a rent increase can be sought:
- within one year of the creation of the statutory assured tenancy, either the landlord or the tenant may propose new terms and also, if he wishes, an increase/decrease to the rent to reflect the new terms. A landlord should do so by serving an Assured Tenancies Notice AT1 (L) and a tenant an Assured Tenancies Notice AT1 (T)
- the landlord may propose a rent increase to take effect at any time during a statutory assured tenancy though not more often than once a year by serving a Assured Tenancies Notice AT2
- a tenant under a Short Assured Tenancy may use an Assured Tenancies AT4 form to apply to the rent assessment committee for a determination of market rent. The rent assessment committee may then change the rent.
As new private residential tenancies came into force on 1 December 2017, you will no longer be able to set up a new assured or short assured tenancy. However these forms must continue to be used for assured tenancies which have begun before 1 December and will continue after that date.
Deposits/tenancy deposit scheme
As a landlord it is acceptable to ask for a deposit from the tenant to cover any loss or damage to the property, unpaid bills or rent arrears. The amount that a landlord will normally ask for is the equivalent to one month's rent and it is a statutory requirement that the deposit does not exceed two month's rent in accordance with the Rent (Scotland) Act 1984. Every deposit taken must be lodged with an independent third party approved by the Scottish Government.
The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (Scotland) Regulations 2011 came into force in March 2011. The Scheme was introduced in response to concerns about large sums of money that are unfairly withheld from tenants deposits by some landlords and letting agents at the end of a tenancy.
The main objective of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme is to:
- deal with the problem of unfairly withheld deposits
- ensure that deposits are safeguarded for the duration of the tenancy
- ensure that deposits are returned quickly and fairly, particularly where a disagreement over the return of the deposits arises
Landlords who are required to register with their local authority under the Antisocial Behaviour etc (Scotland) Act 2004 have a legal obligation to comply with these regulations.
The three schemes that have been approved by the Scottish Ministers are:
- The Letting Protection Service Scotland
- Safe Deposit Scotland
- My Deposit Scotland
At the start of a tenancy it is good practice for the landlord to confirm with the new tenant the furnishings and equipment supplied as part of the tenancy. This should include details of any faults, damage or disrepair of any equipment fixtures and fittings. It is recommended that the landlord and the tenant go over the inventory at the same time as signing the lease for the property. The tenant should be given a copy of the inventory and a note of what repairs are required and when the tenant should expect these to be completed.
At the end of the tenancy, the landlord and tenant should check the inventory together.