Resolving a rented housing dispute

Last updated: 30 October 2018

If a tenant and landlord have a dispute, they can try to resolve it by:

  • talking about the problem
  • talking about the problem with someone independent – called 'alternative dispute resolution'
  • getting legal advice from a solicitor
  • going to the Housing and Property Chamber for disputes about rent, repairs and entry to the property
Going to the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland Housing and Property Chamber (the Tribunal) to solve a problem can be stressful. It's usually best to try to find another solution.

Alternative dispute resolution

There are ways to resolve a dispute without going to the Tribunal. This is sometimes called 'alternative dispute resolution'. You can:

  • go to mediation, where an independent person will help you try to resolve your problem – for example when dealing with a tenant's anti-social behaviour
  • go to arbitration, where an independent person will listen to both sides of a dispute and make a decision for you – this can be used for disputes about a rented property deposit

In mediation it will be you and your landlord or tenant – not the mediator – who decides what happens. You'll also decide the terms of any agreement you make.

If the case goes to the Tribunal and the Chamber President decides it's suitable for mediation, the landlord and tenant will be told it's an option.

If it's agreed that mediation would be the best way to resolve the dispute, the case will be postponed to let the mediation take place. You can find more information on the Housing and Property Chamber website.

Find a mediation service using Scottish Mediation – the professional body for mediators in Scotland.

Sometimes a mediation service can cost money. If you can't afford it, you can try to get help to pay through legal aid.

In arbitration an independent person listens to both sides of a dispute and makes a decision about what you should do.

Arbitration can be used if you're having a dispute about a rented property deposit. The Scottish Arbitration Centre in Edinburgh can help you find an arbitrator.

The arbitrator's decision is binding, which means you'll need to accept the decision they make.

Speak to a solicitor

You could ask a solicitor to give you advice on your rights and options. They can also help you negotiate with the person you have a problem with.

This will usually cost money. If you can't afford to pay, you can try to get help through legal aid.

Find out more about using a solicitor, including how to find one.

First-tier Tribunal for Scotland Housing and Property Chamber

The First-tier Tribunal for Scotland Housing and Property Chamber is a tribunal that can help resolve disputes with:

  • tenancy terms
  • rent
  • repairs
  • entry to the property
  • evictions
  • wrongful tenancy terminations

You can apply for the help of the tribunal using an application form.

For both rent and repairs, a committee may inspect the home before the hearing.

For more information about how the Housing and Property Chamber works and the application forms to apply for help, go to the Housing and Property Chamber website.

If your dispute is about repairs, find out what your rights and responsibilities are as a private tenant and private landlord.

Ending a tenancy

There can be problems when tenants or landlords want to end a tenancy. Find out what the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords are.

If you're being evicted

Tenants have to be given a notice period before they're evicted, so that they have time to prepare.

Find out what else should happen if you're facing eviction and where to get help.

Further support

You can get further advice on what action to take from: