Renting advice for tenants in Scotland

There are many reasons why so many people in Scotland decide to rent – relocating for work or not planning to stay in an area for long, not having the capital for a mortgage deposit or maybe you just don’t want the long-term commitment.

Whatever the reason, we’re offering some advice to help you find the rental property to suit you and some tips that can help along the way.

Plan your finances

You will have an idea of the area you’d like to live in, so research the typical rents in the neighbourhood and be sensible about what you can afford. Consider your bills (utilities, insurance, council tax etc.) to give you a realistic budget. Some bills may be included with your rent but this can vary, so it’s best to check. You’ll also need a deposit and one month’s rent upfront in most cases, to be paid on the day you move into a property.

Finding a rental property

What kind of property?

Once you know your budget you should think about the property itself. Would you prefer furnished or unfurnished? Is it a house or a flat that you’re looking for? Do you need to be close to transport links or do you want parking close to your home? Making a list of your requirements before you start looking will help speed up your search.

Searching for property

95% of people start their search online on sites like, Scotland’s biggest property site.

You can set up property alerts based on your search criteria to be emailed as soon as property matching your criteria hits the site. This is particularly important – there is high demand for quality rented accommodation, so properties go quickly. Especially when it comes to festival lets in Edinburgh or student accommodation around the start of a new semester.

Check that the landlord (in some cases this is also the letting agent) is registered with the local council. If so, they will have a landlord registration number that will be included in all property adverts, along with the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).

If you plan to live with others, check out our top tips for choosing a flatmate. If three or more unrelated people will be living in a property, it will need to have an HMO (house in multiple occupation) license from the local council – this is something to check as part of your search.

Viewing properties

Letting agents across Scotland advertise their properties with online portals, like Alongside the listing, there will be contact details for the agent. Call or email them directly from the site or your property alert email and arrange a time for a viewing. Once you’re in touch with them, agents will also be on the lookout for properties coming onto their books matching what you’re looking for.

For things to look out for during a viewing, print our handy renting checklist. It’s always good to take someone along with you for safety and a second opinion.

Also, ask your current landlord or employer to give you a reference – this will speed up the process for you when the new landlord or letting agent asks you for one.

Moving in

  • When you first move in, it’s good to familiarise yourself with the location of the water mains, gas valve and fuses in case you have to turn these off in an emergency.
  • You should have two smoke alarms and a Landlord Gas Safety Record (issued once a year).
  • Any furniture provided by the landlord should adhere to Furniture and Furnishings Fire Safety Regulations 1988 and have a symbol on the furniture to say that it is fire resistant.
  • Your landlord should give you an inventory. Check it’s correct or create your own if one isn’t supplied. Check the condition of walls, floors and any furniture and take photos to show any damage to the landlord. Once both parties are happy, you’ll sign the inventory and each keep a copy.
  • Pay your deposit and first month’s rent – get a receipt for these payments. Your deposit should be registered by the landlord with one of three Tenancy Deposit Schemes within 30 working days of your tenancy beginning. If this isn’t done, you should remind your landlord as the Sheriff Court can order that this happens and you could be compensated.
  • Insurance – the landlord has to insure the building and anything in the property that belongs to them. You, as a tenant, are responsible for insuring your own belongings.

Now you’re an expert on renting in Scotland, start looking for your next home. For over 3,000 properties to rent across Scotland, search


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