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Private rented accommodation

In South Ayrshire there are many opportunities to rent accommodation from private landlords and letting agents.

Many different types of people rent properties from private landlords in South Ayrshire. The 2001 census indicated that there has been a steady rise in private rented housing stock and this now accounts for 5.5% of the total housing tenure in South Ayrshire.

Anyone letting a property is required by law to register with their Local Authority. It is an offence for an unregistered landlord to let a property. You can check whether a landlord is registered on the Scottish Government Landlord Registration website.

Location and stock type

Privately rented accommodation is widely distributed throughout South Ayrshire, although the size and type of accommodation varies between urban and rural areas.

As a rough guide, you might find that, urban areas like Ayr, tend to have a higher number of small flats, either bedsits or 1 bedroom properties. Rural areas tend to have a higher number of cottage type accommodation, with more bedrooms.

A lot of private rented accommodation in South Ayrshire is furnished (to varying degrees), however there are also many landlords who rent unfurnished properties.

Rent charges

The cost of renting privately varies between individual properties and also depends on the landlord. There is no restriction on the rent a landlord negotiates at the beginning of a tenancy, but it should be fair and reasonable.

As a rough guide, you might expect to pay around £55 per week for a bedsit in Ayr. Prices for 2 or 3 bedroom properties vary considerably and can start at around £300 per month, up to around £600 per month. (These figures are only intended to be used as a rough guide)

Rent deposit scheme

Most, but not all landlords ask for a deposit (this can be one or two months rent), before renting out a property Deposits are a form of insurance for the landlord to recover costs against possible damage, unpaid bills or non-payment of the last months rent by tenants. Landlords cannot ask for more than two months rent and must provide you with a receipt for your deposit. Landlords or their agents should also provide a written statement of what the deposit covers including the bills that need to be settled (e.g. Council Tax, Utilities) and what is required to be reinstated, if necessary before the deposit can be returned.

At the end of the tenancy, provided that you are not in rent arrears and
the accommodation is in the same condition as at the start of the tenancy,
the deposit should be returned in full by your landlord.

For many people the deposit is a barrier to gaining access to the private rented sector. However, if you are over 18 and on a low income and/or in receipt of benefits, there is an organisation, which may be able to help.

South Ayrshire Escape from Homelessness (SeAscape) is a registered charity which offer rent deposit guarantees for people living in South Ayrshire.
The scheme means that, SeAscape don't actually pay the landlord the deposit, but will guarantee to pay back the deposit to the landlord, if necessary.

You can be referred to SeAscape by the Council’s Homeless Services or by other agencies. Contact a Homeless Officer at the following address, if you wish to be considered or require further information:

Further information can also be obtained from SeAscape:

SeAscape
8 Barns Street
AYR
KA7 1XA
Tel: 01292 285 424 (24 hr Answering Machine)

Housing Benefit

People on low incomes with high rental costs are usually entitled to receive Housing Benefit to help pay the rent.

However, it is important to remember that there is no automatic entitlement to Housing Benefit. Housing Benefit will only be paid to someone who has gone through the application process properly and satisfies the statutory requirements for the payment of Housing Benefit.

It is also important to realise that when renting from a private landlord, the level of housing benefit awarded may not cover the full cost of the rent and therefore, you would have to pay the difference out of your money.

It is vital that you seek advice form someone who can advise you how much you are likely to have pay before you accept a tenancy.

You should contact the Unified Benefits Section at one of the 6 Area Housing Offices

(See Housing Benefit & Council Tax Benefit of the Housing Options Guide for further details).

Council Tax

The Council Tax is a charge made by the council to help cover the costs of the services and facilities provided by the council such as roads, parks, refuge collection, libraries, sports centres, swimming pools etc.

In most cases the tenant is responsible for paying the council tax due on the property. If you are living alone you may be eligible for a discount on the amount you pay. Alternatively, if you live in a house in multiple occupation (H.M.O), the landlord is responsible for paying the council tax.

Your house is in multiple occupation if you and other tenants each live in only part of it, pay rent for your own part and you and the other tenants are not part of the same household.

If you are a tenant in a house in multiple occupation, your lease or another agreement may allow your landlord to include your share of the council tax in the rent.

Finding private rented accommodation

Local newspapers

Many properties that are available to let are advertised in local newspapers, the following local newspapers are available in South Ayrshire.

  • The Ayrshire Post / Kilmarnock Standard - These are published weekly and early editions are usually available from some newsagents, supermarkets and petrol stations on Wednesday evenings. You should try and get a copy on Wednesday evening, so that you don't miss out on any vacancies. You can also place your own wanted ad in the lettings section, however there is a charge for this.
  • The Ayr Advertiser, Troon & Prestwick Advertiser - Published weekly and contains a small lettings section. Available from newsagents in and around the local area.
  • Carrick Gazette - Published weekly and contains a small lettings section. Available from newsagents in and around the Girvan & Maybole area.
  • Ayrshire Leader - Free weekly newspaper contains a small lettings section, delivered free of charge to many people in South Ayrshire.

Window advertisements

Some landlords advertise in the windows of local newsagents, post offices and on the small ads boards in supermarkets.

Estate agents, letting agencies & solicitors

There are a few specialised private lettings agencies in South Ayrshire and also some estate agents and solicitors who often have properties to rent.

Important Note

  • Some landlords may require a deposit and / or references
  • It is an offence for letting agents to charge to put your name on a list
  • It is also an offence for landlords in Scotland to levy any form of premium (i.e. key money) on the rent.

Private tenant's rights

As private tenant you have the right to the following:

  • To know the terms of the tenancy.
  • To know the name and address of your landlord.
  • To a decent standard of repair.
  • To proper notice if the landlord wants the tenant to leave.
  • To quiet enjoyment while staying in the property.

However, as a tenant you also have a responsibility to ensure that the rent is paid on time and to ensure the property is kept in the same condition it was in when it was first let to you

Private tenancy agreements

Where a tenancy began on or after 2nd January 1989, the landlord must provide you with a written tenancy agreement which states the following:

  • How long the tenancy is for.
  • How much the rent is.
  • When and how the rent should be paid.

If you are renting on a short assured tenancy (usually 6 months), the landlord must provide you with a form AT5 before you move in. This is a notice for use by the landlord to inform the prospective tenant that the tenancy on offer is a short assured tenancy. Failure to do so will mean that a short assured tenancy has not been created.

Responsibility for repairs

The tenancy agreement should also say who is responsible for the decoration and repair of the accommodation.

In general, tenants are responsible ensuring fixtures, fittings, furniture and other contents are not damaged by negligence.

In general, landlords are responsible for keeping the following in good repair and working order:

  • The structure and exterior of the property, including drains, gutters and external pipes.
  • Water, gas pipes and electrical wiring (including taps and socket, for example).
  • Basins, sinks, baths and toilets.
  • Fixed heaters, gas fires and water heaters.
  • Repairs to common parts of the building such as stairs and communal closes. Landlords must also carry out annual checks on gas installations and electrical appliances.

Landlords must also carry out annual checks on gas installations and electrical appliances.

Security of tenure

As long as the tenant does not break any of their tenancy conditions they will have the right to stay in their rented accommodation for as long as the tenancy agreement specifies. Landlords can serve a Notice to Quit (NTQ) but they do not have to leave until a Notice of Proceedings (NOP) has also been serviced.

Notice to quit

If a landlord asks you to leave your accommodation or if the landlord advises you that court proceedings for repossession are being taken against you, you should not move out without getting advice from an experienced advisor.

i.e. The council Homelessness Section, Ayr Housing Aid Centre, or a solicitor

If you are tenant and you have received a written or verbal notice to quit form your landlord, you should also seek the help from an experienced advisor before the notice expires.

Important note: even after a notice to quit expires, you still have a continued right of occupancy.

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