September 2019 – Compliance Aide-Memoire – Private Residential Landlords

Author: Mitchells Roberton
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The Bullet Point Update for March said something specific about the changes to the “repairing standard” which private landlords have to comply with. This Update is rather more general. It is prompted by the publication this month of updated guidance on the “mygov.scot” website about renting your property out which can be found here: https://www.mygov.scot/renting-your-property-out/overview/

That guidance is expressed in a straightforward way but is nevertheless fairly detailed. This Update aims to focus more briefly on the main things that landlords will need to think about so as to comply with the various (ever-expanding) rules and regulations affecting private residential tenancies.

Landlord registration

  • Before you can rent out your property you have to register with the local council which covers the area where your let property is situated.
  • If you own the property with someone else they must also be registered.
  • There are some situations where you do not have to register with a council to rent out a property; for example: houses with a resident landlord, or where you are simply letting to family members.

Energy Performance Certificates

  • An Energy Performance Certificate provides details on the energy performance of the property and what you can do to improve it. It is required for properties whenever they are constructed, sold or let out.

Houses in Multiple Occupation

  • If you let out your property to three or more tenants who are not related to one another you must obtain a HMO licence from the relevant local council permitting you to do so.

Tenancy Deposits 

  • If the tenant is required to pay a tenancy deposit – and most are – it must be lodged with an independent third party tenancy deposit scheme. The scheme protects your tenant’s deposit until it’s due to be repaid.
  • This must be done within 30 days of the tenancy starting.
  • The amount of any deposit cannot be more than two months’ rent.

The Repairing Standard 

  • The “repairing standard” was the focus of the March Bullet Point Update. But, in outline,  it covers the legal obligations of private landlords to ensure that a property meets – and continues to meet – a minimum physical standard.
  • In particular, to comply with the repairing standard, private landlords must have regard to the guidance issued by Scottish Ministers on:

(i)            satisfactory provision for detecting and warning of fires;

(ii)           electrical installations and appliances in private rented property; and

(iii)          the provision of carbon monoxide alarms.

Written tenancy agreement etc

  • Assuming you rented out your property on or after 1st December 2017 your tenant will have what is called a “Private Residential Tenancy” or “PRT”.
  • So, the tenant must have a tenancy agreement or written tenancy terms which support this. A tenancy agreement tells the tenant all the terms of their tenancy including things like safety and house rules as well as payment of rent etc.
  • Depending on the form the written tenancy agreement takes you will also have to give your tenant either the ‘Easy Read Notes for the Scottish Government Model Tenancy Agreement’, or the ‘Private Residential Tenancy Statutory Terms Supporting Notes’.

Anti-Social Behaviour 

  • If you’re renting your property out, you have a responsibility for resolving any antisocial behaviour that happens in and around the home. If your tenants or their visitors are causing trouble, you have to try to put a stop to it.
  • There are a number of ways you can receive a complaint of antisocial behaviour. For example: directly from the neighbours – your contact details are publicly available once you register as a landlord; or from the local authority (if the neighbour has contacted them).

Letting Agents 

  • Although your letting agent may be able to carry out some of these duties on your behalf, you’ll still be legally responsible for them. So, any legal action that happens because they were not carried out will be your responsibility – not that of the letting agent.

Note: This material is for information purposes only and does not constitute any form of advice or recommendation by us. You should not rely upon it in making any decisions or taking or refraining from taking any action. If you would like us to advise you on any of the matters covered in this material, please contact Euan David: email efd@mitchells-roberton.co.uk

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