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Commencing a Tenancy

A good checklist can help landlords know what is expected of them

Getting the tenancy off to a good start with clear roles and responsibilities is vital. This section focuses on how councils can support landlords to do that.

Benefits

  • Providing this checklist to landlords (new, accidental, and existing) ensures they know what is expected of them.
  • A good reference document to use when discussing issues that can arise at the beginning of a tenancy with landlords or tenants

If the right paperwork and checks are put in place at the start of a tenancy then it is more likely that standards will be met and both tenants and landlords in the PRS will have a positive experience. You may benefit from dealing with the fallout from fewer disputes between tenants and landlords if you can help landlords start a tenancy well.

Checklists are an effective way to raise awareness with landlords of all the necessary requirements and, providing links to further information can give them a kick-start to achieve their statutory obligations.

The checklist below can be adapted for local requirements or used ‘as is’ and sent to landlords. You may also want to consider hosting it on your own website for landlords to download directly or create an audio/video clip to share with landlords online too.

Preparing yourself and your tenancy Useful resources & web pages
Get the tenancy agreement right. Tenants have a right to a copy of the agreement (either in paper or electronic form) within 28 days of the start of the tenancy.

You will also need to give your tenant ‘easy read notes’ to accompany their tenancy agreement (if you’ve used the model tenancy agreement) or the ‘supporting notes’ if you have edited the model
The Scottish Government have produced a model tenancy agreement, created using an online form. It includes all of the core rights and obligations, and gives landlords the option to choose whether to include other discretionary terms.
Make sure your tenants have your contact details, or those of the relevant letting agent if you are using one. It may be useful to also obtain emergency contact details from your tenants.  
Ensure all certificates (Gas Safety, EPC, EICR) are photocopied and are present in the property, or alternatively sent by email for the tenant to inspect. Tenant information packs are no longer a requirement. However, it is still a good idea to leave a folder of relevant documents for tenants in the property.
Look around the property with your tenant(s). Show them where the stopcock is to turn off the water supply; how to switch off the electricity and how to reset the electricity if a fuse blows; and how to turn off the gas and restart the boiler.  
Take and record meter readings before your tenants move in. It is helpful if these are agreed at the time with the tenants and recorded in the inventory.  
Compile a detailed inventory that is agreed and signed by both the landlord and the tenant. Include good quality pictures to reduce disputes at check-out Here is a template inventory that can be used and adapted for most properties
Ensure your tenants know how to deal with disrepair issues which may occur, such as a broken boiler. Collate a list of contact details for tradespeople you trust and can contact should something go wrong with the property. Local Trusted trader sites provide a good starting point for finding reliable tradespeople. Schemes are Council backed and supported by Police Scotland and Citizens Advice.
Arrange for a set of the keys to be given to the tenant. A Key Agreement form will ensure that you have signed authorisation to retain keys to the property and clarify when these can be used.
You must put the deposit into a Tenancy Deposit Scheme in Scotland within 30 working days of the start of tenancy and notify the tenant in writing which scheme is holding their deposit using the prescribed information for the scheme. There are three Government approved tenancy deposit schemes in Scotland: More information on what you must communicate with your tenant in writing is available on the Scottish Government webpage.
Let the council know a tenant is moving in so they have the information for council tax purposes. Tell the tenant you have done this.  
Arrange a settling-in visit to check the property and review things with the tenant.  

A downloadable version of this checklist is available.

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