There is certain legislation and regulation for Landlords to be aware of, and steps to be taken prior to the start of a lease.
The Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016 took effect from 1st December 2017 and introduced a new type of tenany. This is known as a Private Residential Tenanciy (PRT) and its purpose is to improve security for tenants and provide safeguards for landlrods, lenders and investors.
The main difference between the PRT and Short Assured Tenancies (SAT) are -
- There will be no initial fixed period (Tenants can give 28 days' notice from the start of the lease).
The Landlord will no longer be able to ask a tenant to leave simply because they fixed term has ended.
There will be 18 modernised grounds for repossession, including where the landlord wishes to sell.
The landlord must give 28 days' notice to leave if the tenant has been in the property for 6 months or less, 84 days' notice if the tenant has been in for longer than 6 months (unless terminating under certain grounds).
There is a Scottish Government recommended 'model tenancy agreement', which will include standardised tenancy terms.
Landlords have to give 3 months' notice to increase rents and local councils willl have the ability to designate areas as 'rent pressure zones' where a maximum limit is set on how much rents are allowed to incresae for existing tenancies each year in that area.
Existing Short Assured Tenancies will continue until either tenant or landlord bring it to an end by servicing notice to quit the let property. Where the contract is renewing on a contractual basis, this can continue to renew until either tenant or landlord bring it to an end by serving notice to quit the let property.
Further information is on the Scottish Government website
- Mortgage Consent - landlords must get consent to lease out your property from their mortgage lender.
- Insurance - the insurance of the building and any furniture, fittings or furnishings which belong to the landlord will remain the landlord’s responsibility. The tenant is responsible for insuring their own belongings in the property and it is always advised for the tenant to insure the contents. The terms of the landlord’s insurance policy may be changed as a result of the property being let or left unoccupied for a period of time. You are advised to check the details of your insurance policy carefully or to ensure the insurance company is made aware of the circumstances. We recommend that all landlords have buildings and contents insurance, including minimum contents insurance for unfurnished properties.
- Inland Revenu - you should consult your tax advisor regarding the tax on your property income and the offsetting of tax by expenses. If you are relocating abroad or currently live outside the UK, you will need to advise tax office of the date of your departure from the UK and apply for a Non Resident Landlord Approval Number.
Full information on Non Resident Landlords can be found on the HMRC website
Margaret Duffus Leasing Agent Number: Agent Number - 922/NA022237
- Gas - ensure all gas appliances are safe, serviced and in accordance with the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1994. Any Corgi registered plumber or gas fitter will advise on further steps required to make your property safe. The Landlord Gas Safety Certificate must be carried out prior to leasing, is a mandatory requirement and the certificate must be renewed annually.
Full information on the legislation can be found on the HSE website
- Fire Safety - ensure all furniture and furnishings comply with Furnishings Fire Safety Regulations 1988 regulations i.e. settees, armchairs, mattresses and any other upholstered items should carry a label displaying a match and lighted cigarette symbol or reference to the 1988 regulations. We recommend that Fire Blankets are supplied and maintained.
- Electrical Checks - landlords have a duty to carry out regular electrical safety inspections. These inspections should consist of an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) and Portable Appliance Test (PAT) and the Tenant must be given a copy of the inspection when it is done and a copy of the most recent inspection before the tenancy begins. The inspections should be carried out at least every 5 years, but PATs are normally valid for 1 year. All C1, C2 and FI fault codes should be rectified in order that the property complies with the Repairing Standard (see below).
- CO Alarms - landlords must have a long life battery OR mains powered detector in any space which contains a carbon based fuel appliance (excluding cooking appliances) e.g. a gas/oil boiler, gas/oil fire, wood burning stove or open coal fire. There should also be one in any bedroom or living room which is bypassed by a flue.
- Smoke Alarms - landlords are require to provide adequate provision for the detecting and warning of fires. The appropriate, hard wired alarms should be present as follows –
- One functioning smoke alarm in the room which is frequently used by the occupants for general daytime living purposes,
- One functioning smoke alarm in every circulation space, such as hallways and landings,
- One heat alarm in every kitchen, and
- All alarms should be interlinked.
Full details of the statuary guidance on electrical checks, CO alarms and smoke alarms can be found on the Housing and Property Chamber website
- Legionella - the Health & Safety Executive approved code of practice 'Legionnaires Disease: The Control of Legionella Bacteria in Water Systems' states that landlords must take suitable precautions to prevent or control the risk of exposure to legionella. Legionnaires Disease is a potentially fatal lung infection caused by inhaling legionella bacteria, bacteria which can exist in any man-made water system, taps, pipe work and shower heads (amongst others). The general public usually associate legionella with larger water systems (e.g. in factories, hotels, hospitals and museums, and cooling towers). It can however also live in smaller water supply systems used in homes and other residential accommodation. As a result Landlords are required to:
Carry out a risk assessment which will help establish any potential risk; and
- Implement measures to either eliminate or control risks.
- To identify the risks in the water system a competent person who understands the property's water system and any associated equipment should establish any possible exposure to legionella risks, as part of a risk assessment.
Some of the issues to be considered when carry out the risk assessment include:
- Where water is stored between 20C and 45C;
- Where there is stagnant water in any area of the system;
- Where there is rust, sludge, scale or organic matter in the water system;
- Where there are any outlets which are not frequently used (eg. showers and taps in guest bedrooms); and
- Where the tenant is particularly at risk due to age, illness or weakened immunity.
If it is discovered that the risks are insignificant and are being properly managed to comply with the law, the assessment is complete and the Landlord will not need to take any further action. However, it is important for the Landlord to record the assessment and review the assessment periodically in case anything changes in their water and sewage system.
Full details of Landlords’ responsibilities are on the HSE website
It is the Landlord’s responsibility to carry out the Legionella Risk Assessment
- Security - you should ensure there are adequate locks on doors and windows (consult your insurance company for further guidance relating to your particular property). Burglar alarms are not essential but worth thinking about particularly if you plan to leave your property furnished.
- Landlord Registration - landlords are required to be registered with the relevant local authority and the registration number must be displayed on any written advert to let. The national fee is £55 to register as a landlord with each relevant council for a 3 year period with an additional £11 per owner to register each individual property. Online registrations will receive a discount of 10%.
For further information visit the Landlord Registration Scotland website or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Margaret Duffus Leasing Agent Numbers - Aberdeen City - 04238/100/14000, Aberdeenshire - 04238/110/14590
- Energy Performance Certificate - it is a mandatory requirement that all properties sold or rented require an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). A copy of the certificate requires to be submitted to Margaret Duffus Leasing prior to listing, as it is required on any written advert to let and the certificate must be displayed within the property and a copy issued to the tenant.
- Repairing Standards - private landlords have a duty to ensure that the houses they rent to tenants meet the Repairing Standard as set out in Section 13(1) of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 (the 2006 Act). The landlord should ensure that the house meets the Repairing Standard at the start of the tenancy. If a tenant believes that the landlord has failed to meet the Repairing Standards at all times during the tenancy, they have the right to apply to the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber).
Full details can be found on the Housing and Property Chamber website
- Tenancy Deposit Scheme - under the Tenancy Deposit Schemes (Scotland) Regulations 2011, Tenants deposits must be lodged under an approved scheme. There are currently 3 schemes in operation and MDL has been lodging deposits with Safedeposits Scotland. As well as lodging the deposit, the Landlord has a legal duty to provide the tenant with key information about the tenancy deposit.
Where MDL receive the deposit they will lodge this on behalf of the Landlord, under the Fully Managed service. Under the Set up Only service, the Landlord will responsible for lodging the deposit with a Tenancy Deposit Scheme and issuing the required Prescribed Forms to the tenants within the legally required timescale.
Full details on the Tenancy Deposit Scheme can be found on the Scottish Government website
General Property Preparation & Maintenance
- Utilities - you should apply for council tax exemption if the property is to be vacant and unfurnished before a lease. Apply for 10% discount if the property is vacant and furnished. Cancel telephone service, broadband, satellite TV and TV licence (if no TV in the property). Take meter readings and inform the utilities that you are vacating the property prior to leasing (adjust or cancel direct debits accordingly, pass on forwarding address if necessary).
- Mail Redirection - you should make provision for any mail that may come to you at the property to be redirected.
- Maintenance - is property in a good state of repair?
We have put together a suggested checklist below
- chimneys swept
- paintwork in and out
- plumbing/drains/septic tank
- general condition and age of fittings/furniture
- what electrical appliances are you leaving?
- are you storing anything in the property?
- do you have all the necessary keys to provide to the agent and tenant? (master set, 2 sets to Tenants)
Is it clean?
- when were carpets/curtains last cleaned?
- light fittings dusted/washed
- furniture cleaned
- kitchen appliances moved/cleaned /replaced
- windows cleaned, inside and out
- what documentation do you have to back this up should you need it for deposit despite?
Is garden in good condition?
- grass cut
- borders weeded
- trees /shrubs pruned
- paths /driveways weed free
- rubbish disposed of
- outhouses/garages cleared
- what gardening equipment are you leaving?
We would ask that as a landlord you provide as much information and guidance to any prospective tenant of your property as possible. We recommend that you compile a folder of information which should contain as many instruction manuals and booklets for the various appliances to be left in the property, useful local information with telephone numbers of dentist, doctor, schools etc., refuse collection days and times etc. This will be invaluable to the tenant and help him to look after your property in the manner that you would expect.
Finally, all landlords should be aware that when they offer up their property, especially where it has been the family home and where it is their intention to return to the property, they are allowing others to live in their property in the manner to which the tenants are accustomed. The lease does protect the landlord’s property from abuse or excessive damage but landlords are expected to tolerate a reasonable amount of wear and tear. A proportion of the rent collected by a landlord is expected to be put back into the property for general maintenance and upkeep and to keep the property in a tenantable condition. All costs for minor repairs and maintenance may not be reasonably claimable against a tenant’s deposit.