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Tenancy Agreement

This is not intended as a precise statement of the law. You may wish to seek advice from an advice centre or solicitor engaged in private practice.

You have a legal obligation to provide your tenant with a written Tenancy Agreement that accurately outlines the terms and conditions of the tenancy. The Scottish Government have developed a digital model tenancy agreement following the implementation of the Private Residential Tenancy on 1 December 2017 which lets you add your personal details, automatically adds the mandatory terms and gives you the ability to remove, edit or add discretionary terms within the agreement. The model tenancy agreement also pulls through the easy read notes for the tenant automatically.

The following four elements must be in the tenancy agreement:

  • The amount of rent payable.
  • Who the agreement is between – that is yourself and your tenant.
  • The lifespan of the tenancy - a start date but no end date is required.
  • The property for rent.

In addition to this, a good tenancy agreement should contain information on the following:

  • When the rent is payable – is it weekly, monthly, in advance or in arrears.
  • How the rent should be paid – is it by standing order, etc.
  • What is included in the rent – does it include electricity, council tax, grass cutting, windows being washed etc.
  • If you require a deposit then the agreement should outline what this deposit covers and explain the circumstances under which it may be retained – e.g. if the property is damaged. See "Rent Deposits" for more details.
  • If your tenant has permission to sublet all or part of the property, take in a lodger, assign the tenancy to another person and so forth.
  • Who is responsible for the interior decoration of the property? This must be agreed between yourself and your tenant.
  • How the tenancy can be ended – ie how much notice must the tenant give if they wish to leave, how much notice will be given to them, etc.

Additional Clauses

You may wish to include clauses about anti-social behaviour so that you can use this as a reason to end the tenancy. Other frequently used clauses concern the keeping of pets and whether smoking is permitted within the property.

However, please note that certain conditions are laid down in law and cannot be over ridden by a tenancy agreement. For example, if the tenancy agreement states that you can evict your tenant with one week’s notice this will not be enforceable as the law states a minimum of 28 days or 84 days depending on the tenancy duration.

However, if you state that either party can end the tenancy with one week’s notice then your tenant can give you one week’s notice and leave, although this will not work the other way round.

Existing Tenants

If you already have tenants and have not provided them with a written tenancy agreement you can still do so. However, your tenant does not have to sign the agreement if they do not believe it accurately reflects the terms and conditions of the let. Your tenant has the right to appeal to the Tribunal to draw up a fair tenancy agreement if you fail to do so.

Please note that you cannot charge your tenants for providing a tenancy agreement. You also cannot charge any key money. Both of these charges are illegal.

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