Types of tenancy

Last updated: 14 August 2018

If you rent your home from a private landlord or letting agency, there are 3 main types of tenancy you may have:

  • short assured
  • assured
  • regulated

A new type of tenancy, called a private residential tenancy, was introduced on 1 December 2017.

Private residential tenancy

A private residential tenancy is open-ended and will last until you wish to leave the let property or the landlord uses one (or more) of 18 grounds for eviction.

Although existing tenancies will still be either assured or short assured, all new tenancies from 1 December 2017 must be private residential tenancies as long as:

A property can still be considered a separate dwelling even if some of its facilities are shared with other tenants. For example, if you only rent a bedroom in a flat but you can use a shared bathroom and kitchen, the property will be treated as a separate dwelling because you have access to the facilities you need for it to be considered a separate dwelling.

Improvements for tenants include:

  • more security – it's an open-ended tenancy so your landlord can't just ask you to leave because you've been in the property for a set length of time
  • protection from frequent rent increases – your rent can't go up more than once a year and you must get at least 3 months' notice of any increase
  • unreasonable rent increases can be referred to a rent officer, who can decide if they're fair
  • if you've lived in a property for more than 6 months, landlords have to give 84 days' notice to leave (unless it's because you've done something wrong)
  • if you think you were misled into moving out, you can now apply to the First-tier Tribunal for a 'wrongful termination order'. If the Tribunal gives the order it can award up to 6 months' rent in compensation
  • local councils can apply to Scottish Ministers to cap the levels of rent increases in areas where rents are rising too much

Existing tenancies

If you already have a short assured or assured tenancy, this will continue until either your or your landlord brings it to an end by serving notice to quit the property.

If your short assured tenancy is renewed on a contractual basis, it can continue to renew until either you or your landlord brings it to an end by serving notice to quit the property.

Short assured tenancy

Most tenancies are 'short assured' – this means:

  • the tenancy started after 2 January 1989
  • the place where you live is rented as a home
  • it's your only or main home
  • you received a special notice (an AT5 form) before the tenancy started telling you that it's a short assured tenancy
  • your tenancy is for at least six months

When a short assured tenancy runs out, it will either:

  • automatically renew itself for the same length of time
  • renew for a different time period, if this was written into the tenancy agreement

Reasons a tenancy may not automatically renew include:

  • you give the landlord written notice that you want to leave
  • your landlord gives you written notice that they want you to leave

If you want to leave

If you wants to leave after the tenancy runs out, you have to give your landlord or letting agency at least 40 days' notice. Check your tenancy agreement because yours might specify a different notice period.

If you leave without giving notice, or leave before your notice has run out, you'll still be responsible for the home and any rent you have to pay.

If your landlord wants you to leave

If your landlord wants you to leave they have to give you:

  • a 'notice to quit'
  • at least two months' notice in writing that they want you to move out – this is called a section 33 notice

Your notice will explain that once the notice runs out your landlord will have to get a court order to make you leave if you refuse to do so.

It'll also tell you where to get independent help if you need it.

Assured tenancy

You will have an assured tenancy if:

  • your tenancy started after 2 January 1989
  • before the tenancy started you were not given an AT5 notice stating that your tenancy is a short assured tenancy
  • you're renting the property as a home
  • it's your only or main home

If you have an assured tenancy, your landlord can't ask you to leave the property without giving a valid reason.

When a tenancy runs out, it will automatically renew itself unless:

  • you give the landlord written notice that you want to leave, or
  • your landlord gives you written notice that they want you to leave because you've broken a condition of your tenancy agreement

Your landlord can't just ask you to leave because the tenancy has reached its end date. They have to give you a reason that falls under one of the 17 grounds for eviction.

If you want to leave

If you want to leave after an assured tenancy runs out, you have to give your landlord or letting agency notice. The notice period has to be at least:

  • 28 days if the tenancy was for less than 4 months
  • 40 days if the tenancy was for more than 4 months

If you leave without giving notice, or leave before your notice has run out, you'll still be responsible for the property and any rent you have to pay.

If your landlord wants you to leave

If your landlord wants you to leave and you have an assured tenanct, they have to give you:

  • a 'notice to quit'
  • a 'notice of proceedings', which is written notice that they plan to start legal proceedings to get the property back

The notice of proceedings has to explain which grounds for eviction they want to use to make you leave.

If you do not agree to move out of the house by the date on the notice to quit, your landlord has up to 6 months to contact the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland Housing and Property Chamber and start the eviction process.

You'll then be sent a summons, which is a letter from the Tribunal telling you when the hearing will be, so you can give your side of the story.

Regulated tenancies

If you rent from a private landlord or letting agency and your tenancy started before 2 January 1989, you will not have an assured or short assured tenancy. It will probably be a regulated tenancy.

If you moved into your rented property before 1989 and have kept the same landlord, you should still have a regulated tenancy.

Find out more about the eviction process for regulated tenants.