Private tenancy agreements

When you start renting from a private landlord, s/he must give you a legal tenancy agreement, outlining the terms. This is important and you should keep it safe.

Unless you are sharing living space with your landlord, you are likely to be an assured or short assured tenant. If your tenancy began after December 1st 2017 you will have a Private Residential Tenancy (please see Types of Private Tenancy). The differences between these types of tenancy are important as they affect your rights.

The landlord must:

  • Draw up a written document setting out the terms of the assured or short assured tenancy
  • Ensure it is signed by you and him/her, with signatures witnessed - and give you a copy
  • Not charge the tenant for the document

A tenancy agreement should set out legal requirements, such as the rent amount and your responsibilities for repairs and decoration. It does not affect your legal rights. Sometimes these are greater than your agreement states. More information can be found on Shelter Scotland’s website.

The landlord must also provide:

What happens if you do not have an agreement

Even without a written tenancy agreement you still have rights. If the landlord has given you permission to live in the property and accepted rent, a contract exists. A tenant without a written document (or who believes it does not fairly reflect the terms of his/her tenancy) can apply to a Sheriff to have one drawn up or the existing one adjusted.

To understand what happens at end the tenancy, see Eviction from a private tenancy.