ESPC Lettings is an expert letting agent based in Edinburgh. We provide free advice for private landlords including information on legislation, property maintenance, and property tax payable on your buy-to-let purchase and property maintenance so don't hesitate to get in touch.

Legal responsibilities

1. Landlord registration

All owners of a rental property need to register as a private landlord. This can be done online. 

2. Tenancy deposit scheme

All deposits paid by tenants must be placed in one of three Scottish Tenancy Deposit Schemes (TDS): Safe Deposit Scotland, My Deposits Scotland or Letting Protection Service.

ESPC Lettings use Safe Deposit Scotland, and we will ensure your tenant's deposit is correctly lodged in the Tenant Deposit Scheme.

3. Gas and electrical safety certificates

All rental properties must have the following checks carried out to ensure they are safe for tenants:

  • Gas Certificate - all gas appliances must be checked on an annual basis and a certificate must be in place to show all appliances are safe for use
  • Portable Appliance Test (PAT) - all electrical appliances that are portable (e.g. toaster, washing machine) must be checked annually and a certificate provided to show that they too are safe for use
  • Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) - wiring and sockets must be checked on a regular basis and we recommend to our Landlords that this is carried out every three years.

4. Smoke alarms

In order to comply with the Government's Repairing Standard there should be:

  • One functioning smoke alarm in the room which is frequently used by the occupants for general daytime living purposes (normally the living room/lounge)
  • One heat alarm in every kitchen
  • All alarms should be ceiling mounted
  • One functioning smoke alarm in every circulation space on each storey, such as hallways and landings, or in main room if no landing in the upper storey
  • All alarms should be interlinked
  • Mains-operated alarms (with battery backup) are permitted, and tamper proof/sealed/long-life lithium battery alarms (i.e. not PP3 type or user-replaceable) are also permitted – the expiry date should be visible on each alarm
  • Alarms can be interlinked via wires (hardwired) or wirelessly (by radio communication).

5. Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

All properties must have an EPC before the property can be advertised. If you have a Home Report you will find a copy of the EPC within this report. An EPC is valid for 10 years.

6. Legionella risk assessment

It a legal requirement to have a risk assessment for legionella carried out in all rented properties. The risk assessment should identify any areas where legionella bacteria could grow and if treatment is required. To stay compliant, landlords should employ a “competent” person to conduct the risk assessment who can make recommendations if a risk is identified.

7. Insurance

As the owner of the property you are responsible for insuring the building. You may choose to arrange insurance for any contents you may have in the property, anything belonging to your tenant is their responsibility to insure.

As an expert letting agent in Edinburgh, ESPC Lettings can help you meet your legal obligations as a landlord and provide advice when needed. Get in touch to find out how we can help.

Property tax information

As a landlord, the issue of tax can be an overwhelming one. Here we break it down into sections, so you understand the tax you are required to pay on your properties. You can also read our page on landlord tax requirements.

Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT)

Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) applies to property transactions in Scotland.

It is usually the solicitor who is acting on the buyer’s behalf who will complete the return and facilitate the payment. 

Use ESPC’s LBTT calculator to find out how much tax is likely to be paid on a property.

Additional Dwelling Supplement Tax (ADS)

The Additional Dwelling Supplement (ADS) is a tax on the purchase of an additional residential properties (such as buy-to-let and second homes) of £40,000 or more. The current rate is charged at 6% of the total purchase price.

Purchase price LBTT ADS Total tax payable
£135,000 £0 £8,100 £8,100
£150,000 £100 £9,000 £9,100
£200,000 £1,100 £12,000 £13,100
£250,000 £2,100 £15,000 £17,100

Income tax for landlords

If you’re a landlord, you’ll need to pay tax on your rental income. We spoke to tax specialists for their tips on completing a self-assessment form as a landlord

Property maintenance

Just like any property your rental property will require maintenance and repair. If you have questions such as “How often should a landlord refurbish a property?” or “What is considered maintenance on rental property?”, ESPC Lettings can help.

The team has experience in taking care of rental properties and offers a fully managed property service, so you don’t have to worry about dealing with maintenance issues yourself. We will keep you updated as to maintenance costs and what needs done in your property, so you are kept informed at all stages.

Get in touch with ESPC Lettings to get advice about property maintenance and find out more about our full property management service.

Contact us

ESPC Lettings can provide expert advice on all aspects of being a landlord – contact the team today using the form below, emailing or calling 0131 253 2847.

You can also drop in to the ESPC Property Information Centre to chat to one of the team anytime we are open.

Get in touch

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Landlord tips and insights

Tenancy agreement: what you need to know

When renting a property, tenancy agreement is a crucial part in the process. Find out more about your rights and obligations as a tenant.

Decorating a rental house or flat: top tips for landlords

Decorating a rental property can be quite different from decorating your own home. Nicky Lloyd at ESPC Lettings provides top tips for landlords on how to decorate a rental house or flat.

Tax charges on second properties

Owning a second property as a holiday home or as a landlord has long been attractive to investors. However, you need to be clear on the tax charges you could face on purchasing a second property. Claire Maxwell, Tax Senior Manager at Johnston Carmichael, takes a look at LBTT and the recently increased Additional Dwelling Supplement.


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Scottish Letting Agent Register
ESPC (UK) Ltd - LARN1904080

ESPC Lettings are accredited with Landlord Accreditation Scotland.

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ESPC Lettings are a member of Propertymark, a client money protection provider. Further details on their conduct and membership rules can be found here