A Simple Guide for Landlords

You have your eye on a buy-to-let investment property but aren’t sure about all the work involved in becoming a landlord. There are a few steps to take – and importantly, that are legally required – before you can move paying tenants in. As with most projects ,if you are clear on what’s required and organised in your approach, it can be less daunting than it first might seem to get a rental property move-in ready. Here we have broken down the most up-to-date info for landlords into a simple checklist style guide – more detailed information can be found here


A simple but important step, make sure, first of all, that you register as a landlord with the council where your rental property is located or you could be fined up to £50,000 – though in instances where you are leasing holiday lets or renting to family you are exempt from having to register at all. Either contact the housing department of your local council or you can apply online via the Scottish Landlord Register . You will need to renew any landlord license you hold every 3 years.

If you are looking to rent your property out to three or more tenants and none of the tenants are related (in the case of many student flat situations) this will require an HMO license. There are extra criteria to meet before you are granted this, with the council checking you are fit to hold an HMO and whether the property meets the required standards.

There is the additional option to apply for accreditation alongside your license, which may make your property more attractive to potential tenants than those owned by non-accredited landlords – more information and the requirements can be found via Landlord Accreditation Scotland.

Understanding your responsibilities & legal requirements

As well as registering, you have a number of other legal responsibilities as a landlord. If you work with an estate agent to manage your property, they can organise a lot of the following for you but if managing your property yourself you need to ensure the following are ticked off the list before anyone moves in. If any legal action is taken by tenants, whether you work with an estate agent or not, the responsibility falls with the landlord.

  • Issue a Tenancy Agreement and Tenant Information Pack, including your name and address details
  • Register their deposit with an approved tenancy deposit scheme
  • Have an Energy Performance Certificatefor the property
  • Meet gas, electricity and other safety requirements & carry out a Legionella Risk Assessment
  • Keep the property in good, structural repair, inside and out
  • Make sure the property meets the Repairing Standardand give the tenant this information
  • Make adaptations for disabled people – there may be support for this from your local council
  • Give tenants written notice if there are any issues with the property or if work needs to be carried out
  • Take action to deal with any antisocial behaviour by your tenants in or around your property
  • Follow the correct legal procedures if you want your tenant to leave
  • Respect the privacy of tenants and give them notice if you want to enter the property

Getting the property rental-ready

As well as the energy safety tests and performance certificates there are a few other steps to take to properly prepare your property for tenants. Make sure to install smoke alarms, a heat alarm and fire extinguishers and check that any furniture meets fire regulations too. It’s a good idea to get a trusted electrician to check all electrical appliances and give you an Electrical Installation Condition Report and gas appliances should also be checked every year by a Gas Safe engineer. Take an inventory of all furniture in case of any disputes when tenants leave and take meter readings before tenants move in for accurate billing.

Find the right tenants

When you choose to work with Caledonia Property, we will endeavour to take care of all the necessary paperwork and make sure that you are legally compliant as a responsible landlord.

We will also take all the necessary steps to put your property on the market – from taking good photography, adding the right description, marketing it to its right demographic and manage viewings.

Following credit checks and references, once you have agreed to lease to new tenants you can then arrange a move in date and get all the relevant paperwork ready. The deposit collected from the new tenants will be with Safe Deposit Scotland, as it is now legally required to keep the deposit with an authorised third party throughout the duration of the contract.

On move in day, we make sure to get signatures on all paperwork, especially the tenancy agreement/info pack and inventory, and provide all up-to-date safety certificates as well as showing tenants how to turn off water, gas and electricity meters. All that’s left is to hand over the keys and arrange a follow-up meeting to check tenants are settling in ok!