If you're renting out your property, it's your legal duty to give your tenant a written tenancy agreement. This tells the tenant all the terms of their lease.
Every tenancy agreement should include:
- the name of the landlord and the name of the tenant
- the address of the property being rented
- the amount of rent to be paid
- the type of tenancy it is – new tenancies will usually be private residential tenancies
- the length of the lease, if it's a short assured or assured tenancy - normally 6 or 12 months
Private residential tenancies
A new type of tenancy called a private residential tenancy has replaced assured and short assured tenancies. Every new tenancy from 1 December 2017 is a private residential tenancy as long as the:
- tenant lives in it as their only or main home
- tenancy is not excluded under schedule 1 of the Private Housing (Tenancies) Act
- property is let to a person as a separate dwelling
A property can still be considered a separate dwelling even if some of its facilities are shared with other tenants. For example, if a tenant only rents a bedroom in a flat but can use a shared bathroom and kitchen, the property will be treated as a separate dwelling because the tenant has access to the facilities they need for it to be considered a separate dwelling.
The Scottish Government has developed a recommended Model Tenancy Agreement for the Private Residential Tenancy. Find out more about the Model Tenancy Agreement and how you can create a private residential tenancy agreement online.
Assured and short assured tenancies which began before 1 December 2017 can continue until they're brought to an end by you or your tenant. If your tenant's short assured tenancy is renewing on a contractual basis this can continue to renew under the Housing (Scotland) Act 1988 until either you or the tenant brings it to an end.
A tenancy agreement should also give information on:
- whether the rent covers services (gas or electricity) and who's responsible for paying council tax (usually the tenant)
- the date the rent should be paid, and how it should be paid (such as cheque or direct debit)
- the amount of deposit to be paid and in what circumstances it won't be returned
- who should be responsible for repairing and decorating the property
- whether any furniture is provided
- how much notice the tenant or landlord have to give to end the lease
- whether lodgers or subletting are allowed
- any other terms, like whether the tenant has to look after a garden, or whether they're allowed to keep a pet
Creating a tenancy agreement
The Scottish Government has developed a recommended Model Tenancy Agreement for private residential tenancies. Find out more about the Model Tenancy Agreement and how you can create a private residential tenancy agreement online.
You cannot charge your tenant for providing written tenancy terms or any other information you're required by law to provide.
Your tenancy agreement should be written in easy to understand language and should not include any unfair terms.
Unfair terms are conditions that are not legally binding because they try to take away a right the tenant would have in law, or would impose unfair duties on them.
- making the tenant pay for any repairs that are your responsibility
- saying it's up to you to decide whether the terms of the lease have been breached
- allowing yourself to enter the property without giving notice
- not making it clear that you have to get an order (from the Housing and Property Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal) before you can take possession of the property