We would like to make you aware that important changes to current tenancy agreements in Scotland came into effect on 1st December 2017.
The Scottish Government has published its recommended model tenancy agreement for Private Residential Tenancies (PRTs) which now means that any tenancy which commences on, or after, 1st December 2017 will be a Private Residential Tenancy (PRT) and we will no longer be able to ask tenants to sign Short Assured Tenancies or Assured Tenancies.
The most significant changes are:
- The PRT must be open-ended and will last until a tenant wishes to leave the property or a landlord uses one (or more) of 18 grounds for eviction. There can be no fixed term of tenancy and, if the tenant wishes to leave, they must provide at least 28 days’ notice in writing. They can issue this notice at any point after the start of the tenancy. The reality of this change is that a tenant upon entering a tenancy, can immediately give notice to leave 28 days later.
- As a landlord, you can end the tenancy if one of 18 grounds for possession apply. Put simply, the landlord can only provide notice to tenants if: the tenant is in breach of the terms or; the landlord wishes to sell the property (within 3 months of the tenant vacate date) or; the landlord requires the property back for their own personal use or that of a family member. Landlord’s cannot simply ask a tenant to leave for no reason. In addition, the notice period that the landlord must provide is 28 days if the tenant has been in the property for 6 months or less. If a tenant has been in the property for more than 6 months, the notice period the landlord must provide is 84 days.
- Rent increases are limited to one increase per year only and the tenant must be given three months’ notice of a rent increase using a prescribed form.
The purpose of the private residential tenancy is to improve security for tenants and provide safeguards for landlords, lenders and investors.
Improvements for landlords include:
- Where a tenant is in rent arrears, a landlord can refer a case for repossession more quickly;
- One simple notice when regaining possession of a property called a ‘notice to leave’ – this will replace the current ‘notice to quit’ and ‘notice of proceedings’;
- Eighteen modernised grounds for possession, which include new grounds where the property has been abandoned or the landlord intends to sell.
Existing Short Assured Tenancies
If you currently let a property to a tenant on a Short Assured Tenancy which was signed before 1st December 2017 this will not be affected by the new legislation. It will continue until ended by either party and will continue to be governed by the Housing (Scotland) Act 1988.
Help and Advice for Landlords
As members of the Scottish Association of Landlords and Council of Letting Agents, Scottish Property Centre pride ourselves on being at the forefront of legislative changes that can impact upon you as a landlord and property owner, and of course your tenant.
If you are an existing landlord or you’re considering letting a property in the near future, our letting team will be more than happy to provide help, information and guidance regarding your obligations under the new PRT, ensuring you and your tenants meet all of the legal requirements and are fully safeguarded.