02 Apr 2024

Housing (Scotland) Bill published

Housing (Scotland) Bill published

On 27th March the Scottish Government published their Housing Bill to progress plans originally set out in its New Deal for Tenants consultation in 2021. The Bill is proposed legislation which can typically take 2 years to work its way through parliament and come into force. 

The primary measures set out in the Bill are as follows:

Rent increase procedures.  Where the property is not within a rent control area there would be no restrictions on rent increase amounts but rent increases could no longer take place during the first 12 months of a PRT tenancy.

Rent control.  Requirement for local authorities to assess rents in their area at least every 5 years and recommend whether the Scottish Government should impose rent controls.  If rent control areas are designated, annual rent increases on private residential tenancy (PRT) tenancies would be restricted.  This may remove landlords’ rights to reset rents to market level between tenancies but only within designated rent control areas. There would be limited exceptions where higher increases would be allowed, such as for properties where improvement works have taken place.

Personalisation of property.  This would allow tenants to make certain minor modifications without consent such as putting up pictures and posters. They may also request consent to undertake more major alterations (e.g. painting walls) that could not be unreasonably refused, although it would be possible to apply conditions when giving consent, such as that the property should be reinstated to its original condition at the end of the tenancy and/or requires a higher deposit.

Assured and short assured tenancies.  The Bill contains a discretionary power to all the Scottish Government, through Regulations, to set a date on which assured and short assured tenancies convert to PRTs.

Joint tenancies.  This would introduce changes to prevent tenants being trapped in a joint tenancy they no longer wish to be part of.  The aim is to allow one tenant to give notice to end the tenancy for all tenants after a two-month consultation period. Joint tenants who wish to stay could try to negotiate terms for a new tenancy with the landlord.

Eviction.  Would require the first-tier tribunal to consider whether it is reasonable to delay the enforcement evictions to prevent particular hardship or harm to tenants. Some grounds would be exempt from this requirement such as anti-social/criminal behaviour and abandonment. The tribunal has always had the power to delay the enforcement of evictions but has rarely used that power in the past.

Pets.  Would allow tenants to have the right to request permission to keep a pet. A landlord could not unreasonably refuse permission, although it would be possible to apply conditions when giving consent, such as requiring a higher deposit. A reasonable ground for refusal could be that the property is unsuitable for the type and number of pets requested.

We will keep landlords updated on the progress of the proposed legislation as it works its way through parliament.

Please correct the errors below before submitting your request:

Get in touch

Our dedicated client contact team prefer to receive enquiries through our contact form. We'll endeavour to get back to you within 24 hours or during the course of the next working day.

Tick this box if you wish to receive news and offers from Aberdein Considine. By doing, you indicate your consent to receiving targeted email marketing messages from us. On each occasion that we contact you in the future, you will be given the option to opt-out from receiving such messages. You may also email marketing@acandco.com at any time to opt-out.

The personal information that you provide to us in this form will only ever be used by Aberdein Considine (as the Data Controller) for the following specifically defined purposes:

  • email you content that you have requested from us
  • with your consent, occasionally email you with targeted information regarding our service offerings
  • continually honour any opt-out request you submit in the future
  • comply with any of our legal and/or regulatory obligations