Problems with your landlord

This advice applies to Scotland. See advice for See advice for England, See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Wales

Your private landlord isn't registered

All landlords of private tenancies have to be registered on the Scottish Landlord Register. This is to ensure their details have been checked and they are a 'fit and proper' person to let property. It's a criminal offence not to be registered unless the property is exempt. 

If your landlord isn't registered and isn't exempt you will still have rights as a tenant. If you want to stay in the tenancy there are a few actions that can be taken to protect your rent payments and your rights to stay. The landlord can't make you leave without going through the correct legal processes. You can get more information about landlord registration on the Shelter Scotland website.

To find out if your landlord is registered, search for the property by address on the Scottish Landlord Register website.

Your landlord is renting out an unlicensed HMO

If you live in a house of multiple occupation (HMO), your home should meet certain standards. If your landlord needs an HMO licence and doesn't have one, this is a criminal offence. You can report your landlord to the local council if they're renting out an unlicensed HMO.

Read more about your rights in a house of multiple occupation (HMO) on the Shelter Scotland website.

You don't know the identity of your private landlord

As a tenant you have a legal right to know who your landlord is. In some cases the letting agent may also be the landlord.

If you need to find out the landlord’s identity because you need emergency repairs, such as a burst pipe, it may be quicker to ask the council to enter and carry out emergency repairs. It can then take steps to find out who the landlord is to recover its costs from the landlord. Find out more about getting repairs done when you're renting

If you don't know the identity of your landlord, you can find out by:

  • checking what your lease says

  • checking the tenant information pack

  • looking up the landlord's registration on the Scottish Landlord Register

  • writing to the letting agent to ask for the landlord’s full name and address

  • writing to the person or organisation who last received the rent - this might be the landlord's bank. 

If you write to the letting agent or the landlord's bank

Send your request by recorded delivery and keep a copy. If they don't reply within 21 days, this is a criminal offence.

If you're writing to the bank you should address the letter to the manager of the branch which received the money. Find out the branch address by putting the landlord's account sort code into an online checker. Say that you're entitled to the landlord's name and address under the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 section 327. 

Your landlord won't give you a written tenancy agreement

Your landlord must give you a written tenancy agreement if you're:

  • a public sector tenant

  • an assured or short assured tenant

  • a private residential tenant.

Read more about what you can do if your landlord won't give you a written tenancy agreement.

Your landlord is discriminating against you 

A landlord must not discriminate against you because of your disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, sex, disability, sexual orientation or religion. These are called 'protected characteristics'. 

This means that they are probably breaking the law if, because of a protected characteristic you have, they:

  • refuse to let a property to you

  • charge you higher rent than other tenants

  • give you worse terms in your agreement than other tenants

  • treat you differently from other tenants in the way you’re allowed to use facilities, such as a laundry or a garden

  • evict or harass you because of a characteristic you have

  • refuse to carry out repairs

  • refuse to make reasonable changes to a property or a term in the tenancy agreement which would allow a disabled person to live there.

There are some circumstances where the general rules about discrimination may not apply, for example, if your landlord lives in the same property as you. More about discrimination in housing

If you think your landlord is discriminating against you, you should get advice from an experienced adviser, for example at a Citizens Advice Bureau - where to get advice.

Your landlord wants to access the property

A landlord has a right to reasonable access to carry out repairs. The landlord also has a right to enter the property to inspect the state of repair.

What 'reasonable access' means depends on why the landlord needs to get access. For example, in an emergency the landlord is entitled to immediate access to carry out necessary work.

Under normal circumstances private residential tenants must get at least 48 hours’ notice before they have to give access to their landlord for repairs, whereas short assured and assured tenants get 24 hours.

If you’re a private residential tenant you may also have to allow access for an inspection or home valuation to take place.

If you are staying in lodgings, the landlord can only enter your space with your permission. The landlord does have the right to enter to carry out repairs but only with reasonable notice.

A private landlord may be able to ask the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber) for help in entering the property for repairs. There's information about the landlord's right of entry on the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber) website

A landlord does not have a right to enter in any other circumstances unless they have a court order, or an order from the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber).

If your landlord repeatedly enters the property without giving notice or getting permission, you should first try to negotiate with them. If you need help to negotiate with your landlord, ask your local Citizens Advice Bureau.

Your landlord is harassing you

If the landlord does anything which they know is likely to make you leave the house or stop you exercising your legal rights, this is an offence.

For example:

  • repeatedly disturbing you late at night

  • preventing your access to the house

  • creating noise

  • disconnecting the water, gas or electricity where the landlord knows that this is likely to intimidate you.

If you are harassed, you should report it to the police by phoning 101, or 999 if you think you're in danger. 

It is against the law for a landlord to harass you because of your disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity rights, race, sex, sexual orientation, religion or belief. Harassment can include both actions and language that you find offensive. More about harassment and discrimination in housing.

For example, you're living on your own in a private rented flat. The landlord has kept the keys and keeps coming round. They say it's to check on the property but really they just make suggestive comments to you. You don't know what to do and don't want to say they can't come into the flat in case they evict you.

Your landlord doesn't have the right to treat you like this. Although they have the right to keep a set of keys, they don't have the right to come into your flat whenever they feel like it. You need to see an experienced adviser who will help you deal with this landlord, for example at a Citizens Advice Bureau - where to get advice

Your landlord won't give back your deposit

Most private landlords are required by law to pay tenancy deposits into an approved tenancy deposit scheme. Some landlords fail to do this or you may not agree with how much of the deposit the landlord wants to keep at the end of your tenancy.

Read about how to deal with problems with tenancy deposits.