Legal Requirements for Landlords

Landlords Guide

Preparing a property to be let out can be a minefield of red tape combined of legislation, required documentations, safety certificates and property condition.  This can, at first, appear quite daunting but with our help, we can guide you through it all and ensure that you and your property are fit, proper and compliant.

Before a property can be let out, there are several factors which the owner or landlord will need actioned to ensure that the tenancy runs smoothly and complicitly, certifying that you conform with the current laws. We have provided a summary of information for you to digest below. If you require further advice or assistance with any matters, please do not hesitate to contact us:


Preparing The Property

We recognise that a good relationship with your tenants is crucial to a smooth-running tenancy. As Professional Property Managers, this mutual relationship is at our core.  It is important that your Tenants should feel comfortable and secure in their home and that they are receiving value and commitment for their money. It follows, therefore that a well presented and maintained property, in a good decorative and structural order, will help achieve this whilst also securing the highest rental figure. Tenants are also more inclined to treat such a property with greater respect, reducing potential costs.


General Condition

All utility functions such as electrical, gas, plumbing, waste, central heating, drainage and hot water systems must be compliant, safe and good working order. Repairs and general maintenance are the Landlords primary responsibility and expense, unless misuse can be established. Interior decoration should be in good condition being preferably clean, light and neutral (overly imposing décor may have a negative impact on any prospective viewers).



You have the choice to let out your property either furnished or unfurnished. N.B We tend not use the term” fully furnished” to avoid any misunderstandings. Which of these is appropriate to you will depend on the type of property and local market conditions. We are only too happy to give you advice on whether to furnish or not and to what extent e.g. a furnished property may command a slightly higher rental achievement but as a Landlord, you will be responsible for the upkeep, service and replacement of said items.

As an implied minimum requirement, you will need to provide serviceable carpets and floor coverings, light fixtures and any other fixtures and fittings. Keeping in mind that there will be fair wear and tear should be expected.


Personal items, ornaments etc.

Personal possessions, ornaments, pictures, books etc. should be removed from the premises, especially those of real or sentimental value. All cupboards and shelf space should be left clear for the tenant`s own use.



Garden areas should be well maintained, left neat, tidy and free from rubbish.  Lawns, hedgerows, shrubs and trees should be trimmed and not overgrowing especially over or into neighbouring gardens. Tenants are required to maintain the gardens as a specific within our leases and garden grounds are treated in exactly the same way as the interior of the property.  You may wish to provide your tenants with some gardening tools, however, we impress on any prospective viewers that it is their responsibility to maintain any gardens belonging to the property. Few Tenants are experienced gardeners, and if you value your garden, or if it is particularly large or involved, you may wish us to arrange visits by our regular gardener.



At the commencement of the tenancy the property must be in an acceptable clean condition.  All surfaces must be free from dust or debris, kitchens and bathrooms thoroughly cleaned and all floor coverings suitable vacuumed or mopped.  We have a host of cleaners at our disposal, and this can be utilised if you so wish.

At the end of each tenancy, it is the tenants` responsibility to leave the property in a comparable condition. Where they fail to do so, cleaning will be arranged at their expense, possibly deducted from their deposit subject to adjudication.


Information for the Tenant

Many properties, especially new builds, have added or integrated goods.  It is therefore helpful if you leave information for your tenant, e.g. on operating the central heating and hot water system, washing machine and alarm system, and the day refuse is collected etc.  We perform a Pre-Inventory check of the property highlighting what, where and how but it is invaluable from the tenants perspective to have instruction manuals to hand.



We prefer to have one complete set of keys for every named tenant and another complete set, kept secure in our offices, for emergencies. On managed properties, we can arrange to have duplicates cut as required.



Before a tenant can receive the keys and occupy any let property, the following list of requirements must be met, if applicable –

Proof of ownership – Property deeds, power of attorney and or executer, mortgage statement or letter/email from solicitor.

A copy of your Fife Council Landlords Registration number and expiry date.

Compliance with the latest Repairing Standard

Up to date Gas Safety Certificate (GSC).

Up to date Legionella Risk Assessment (LRA).

Up to date Electrical Safety Certificate (EICR).

Up to date Energy Performance Certificate.

Up to date interlinked smoke alarms with smoke and heat alarm in kitchen.

Up to date Carbon Monoxide alarm.

Lead Pipe Test Certificate (Sampling).

Any mobile items i.e. kettle, freestanding washing machine etc are required to have electrical PAT testing (In Service Inspection and Testing of Electrical equipment).


Other Considerations



If your property is mortgaged, you should obtain your mortgage provider’s written consent to the letting. They may require additional clauses in the tenancy agreement of which you must inform us. It may also be possible to change your mortgage due date to suit a new tenancy.




If you are a leaseholder, you should check the terms of your lease, and obtain any necessary written consent before letting.



You should ensure that you are suitably covered for letting under both your buildings and contents insurance. Failure to inform your insurers may invalidate your policies. Moreover, a specific Landlord’s policy is required instead of relying on any standard buildings and content insurance policies.  One of the main differences is that, as a Landlord, you do not live there, there can be longer periods of unoccupancies and as a Landlord, you will only require Buildings, fixture and fittings cover.  A tenant will require their own contents policy.

We can provide information on Landlords Contents and Buildings Insurance for more information.


Bills and regular outgoings

We thoroughly recommend that you arrange for regular outgoings e.g. service charges, maintenance contracts etc. to be paid by standing order or direct debit. However, where we are managing the property, by prior written agreement we may make payment of certain bills on your behalf, provided such bills are received in your name at our office.


Council tax and utility accounts

We will arrange for the transfer of Council Tax and utility accounts to the Tenant on commencement of a new lease.   Meter readings will be taken, allowing your closing gas and electricity accounts to be drawn up.  All council tax and utility bills will be in a Landlords name while the property is unoccupied.  Fife Letting Service will seamlessly process this on both Landlord and tenant’s behalf, however, media providers will require instructions directly from both the Landlord and the Tenant.


Income tax

When resident in the UK, it is entirely the Landlords responsibility to inform the Revenue & Customs of rental income received and to pay any tax correctly due. Where the Landlord is resident outside the UK during a tenancy, you will require an exemption certificate from the Revenue & Customs before you can receive rental balances without deduction of tax. Where we are managing the property, we will provide advice and assistance on applying for such exemption. Letting Agents may be required to deduct the tax at source.


Inventory and schedule of condition

One of the most crucial and important aspect of any property let is an inventory of contents and schedule of condition. The main disputes that arise between tenants and Landlords is usually after the end of a lease and the tenant has vacated.   In order to avoid misunderstanding or dispute, an accurate inventory will establish any tenant related issues.   Without such safeguards, it will be impossible for the Landlord to prove any loss, damage, or significant deterioration of the property or contents. In order to provide a complete Service, we will, if requested, arrange for a member of staff to prepare a professional inventory and schedule of condition, categorise and catalogue every square inch of the property and its contents, complete with written description and photographs at the cost quoted in our Agency Agreement.


What is a Private Residential Tenancy?

Tenancies in Scotland are all now Private Residential Tenancies (PRT’s).  Since December 2017, this is the particular type of tenancies used when the property is let to private individuals. Tenancies no longer have a fixed terms and the notice period from tenants is 28 days. Whereas for a landlord to give notice to leave, it is either 28 days or 84 days’ notice depending on the grounds for possession and the period the tenant has occupied the property.

Please refer to the following Scottish Government website link.

N.B. Local and national changes are implemented frequently.  It is ultimately a Landlord’s responsibility to adhere to and execute any changes correctly.  As a Professional Property Manager, we strive to remain current and up-to-date and will advise where appropriate.