Ending a private residential tenancy

When either you, your landlord, or letting agent want to end a tenancy it must be done in the correct way.

The regulations for private rented tenancies change from 1 April 2024. As a tenant you are still protected by the law. The Scottish Government have published information on the changes for tenants.

This page gives advice for people with a Private Residential Tenancy.

If you moved into your tenancy before December 2017, visit our page with information for assured/short assured tenants.

If you are not sure what type of tenancy you have you should seek advice from our Housing Options Team or an organisation such as Citizens Advice Scotland.

If you want to end the tenancy

If you want to move out you have to let your landlord know in advance. This is called giving notice.

You will have to give your landlord at least 28 days’ written notice, unless you and your landlord have agreed a longer or shorter notice period in writing. Check your tenancy agreement to see if you can send your notice by email or post. If posting, use recorded delivery and keep the receipt. You must allow 48 hours for your landlord to receive the notice.

To end a joint tenancy, all joint tenants must agree and sign the notice to leave. One tenant cannot end the tenancy on behalf of all the joint tenants.

If you change your mind and no longer want to move out you can ask your landlord to continue the tenancy. It is up to your landlord to decide if they will agree to this.

If your landlord wants to end the tenancy

If your Landlord wants to end your tenancy they must do this by giving you a notice to leave. This notice tells you the Landlord wants you to leave the property, the date you should leave the property by, and the reason why they want you to leave.

If you are joint tenants your Landlord must give each tenant a separate notice to end the tenancy.

If you receive any notices from your landlord you may want to seek advice from the Councils Housing Options Team, or an organisation such as Citizens Advice Scotland or Shelter Scotland. They will be able to explain you rights and possibly prevent you losing your home.

Even after the notice runs out your Landlord cannot evict you without first obtaining an eviction order from the First-tier Tribunal.

How much notice will I be given?

The amount of notice your landlord needs to give you depends on how long you have been living at the property and what ground is being used.

  • Your landlord will need to give you 28 days’ notice if you have lived in the property for less than six months, regardless of the ground being used.
  • Your landlord will need to give you 84 days’ notice if you have lived in the property for more than six months. Unless they are using a conduct ground to end the tenancy.
  • If your landlord is using one of the six conduct grounds to end the tenancy, they must give you 28 days’ notice.

The six conduct grounds are:

  • Ground 10 – not occupying the property
  • Ground 11 – breach of tenancy agreement
  • Ground 12 – rent arrears
  • Ground 13 – criminal behaviour
  • Ground 14 – antisocial behaviour
  • Ground 15 – association with a person who has a relevant conviction or engaged in relevant antisocial behaviour

What happens at the end of the notice period?

You may choose not to move out of the property at the end of the notice period, and wait for your landlord to apply for an eviction order from the First-tier tribunal. If you decide to do this your landlord, or anyone acting on their behalf cannot:

  • Throw you out
  • Change the locks
  • Harass or threaten you or your family
  • Enter the property (unless it is with your permission) – you must still allow your landlord access to carry out repairs etc.

If your landlord still wants you to leave the property they can ask the First-tier Tribunal to issue an eviction notice. If you receive notice that your landlord has applied for an eviction order we advise you seek independent help from an organisation such as Shelter Scotland or Citizens Advice Scotland.

Remember, your landlord cannot evict you until the Tribunal gives an eviction order.

Moving out

When you move out of the property it is important to leave it in a good condition. If you do not your landlord may keep some or all of your deposit.

Important things to remember include:

  • Remove all your belongings and any rubbish from the property. Don’t forget the garden, garden shed and garage – If you leave anything behind the landlord may charge you for the cost of clearing it out.
  • Properly clean the property. Including furniture and white goods.
  • Take meter readings. Send a copy to your supplier and let them know you are moving out. Give a copy to you landlord/letting agent.
  • Arrange for your mail to be redirected (there may be a charge for this).
  • Do not take any furniture or other items provided by the landlord.
  • Let the council know when you are moving out, and your new address, so they can update your Council Tax account.

On the day you move out you should meet with your landlord or letting agent to return the keys, and agree if anything from the inventory is missing or damaged. It is a good idea to take photographs in case of any disagreement with your landlord after you move out.

Returning your deposit

If you leave the property in good condition with no rent arrears you should get all your deposit back. Remember your landlord cannot charge you for reasonable ‘wear and tear’ of any fixtures, fittings, or furniture.

Your landlord should have lodged your deposit in a tenancy deposit scheme at the start of your tenancy, and told you which scheme was used.

When you move out you can contact the scheme yourself and ask for your deposit to be returned. Your landlord will be given a short time to register any claim against the deposit. If your landlord agrees to pay in full, or does not respond in a certain time, the deposit will be returned directly to you.

Your landlord may contact the scheme first, and grant release of the full deposit. If this happens the deposit will be returned directly to you.

Your landlord can ask for deductions to be made from the deposit. Reasons for doing this include:

  • Unpaid rent
  • Damage to goods (excluding wear and tear)

If you agree to this, or do not respond within a short time, the remaining deposit will be returned directly to you.

You may choose to challenge this using the scheme’s Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) service. You can usually do this online. An independent person will then make a decision about how much deposit you should get back. A copy of the inventory and photos from when you moved in and out may help your case. You can request a review if you are unhappy with this decision.

The deposit scheme will have more information about the dispute process. An organisation such as Shelter Scotland can provide independent advice.