17 Oct 2017

If you are a landlord, big changes are coming....

If you are a landlord, big changes are coming....

The Scottish Government have confirmed the new private residential tenancy (PRT) will be going live on December 1st this year.

This will replace the assured and short assured tenancies in the private rented sector.  

Where there is current assured or short assured lease in place, they will be unaffected by this change.  Only when the current lease is terminated and landlords have to find new tenants will the PRT have to be used. 

What do the changes mean?

A model tenancy agreement is being supplied by the Scottish Government and will require to be used by agents and landlords.

This is expected to be released by the Government by the end of October. The agreement will contain clauses which are mandatory and others which are not, therefore agents and landlords can add additional clauses, provided they do not contradict those which are mandatory.

The PRT does not allow for tenants and landlords to agree a minimum duration for the lease, nor add an end date. 

A start date will be agreed between the parties and the tenancy will continue indefinitely until terminated by either in accordance with the legislation. 

If tenants want to leave they must give the landlords 28 days notice in writing. This can be issued at any time after the start date.

Grounds for a landlord to end tenancy

The landlord can only end the tenancy if one of the following 18 grounds for possession apply:

1. The Landlord intends to sell the property

2. Property is to be sold by mortgage lender

3. Landlord intends to refurbish which will require works where it would be impracticable for the tenant to occupy the property

4. Landlord intends to occupy the property as their principal home

5. Family member intends to occupy the property as their principal home

6. Landlord intends to use property for non-residential purpose

7. Property required for religious purpose

8. Tenant is no longer an employee of landlord  

9. Tenant is no longer in need of supported accommodation

10. Tenant is not occupying the property

11. Tenant has breached tenancy agreement (not including rent default)

12. Tenant has owed some rent for 3 consecutive months

13. Tenant convicted of using property for immoral/illegal purpose or convicted of offence committed at/near property  

14. Tenant has acted in anti-social manner

15. Tenant associates with someone who has a criminal conviction or who has engaged in anti-social behaviour

16. Landlord has been refused registration or had registration revoked  

17. Landlord’s HMO licence has been revoked

18. Overcrowding statutory notice has been served on the landlord

What notice do I need to give?

The notice period for the majority of grounds is 28 days if the tenant has been in residence for 6 months or less and 84 days if more than 6 months. 

Where the landlord is wishing to end the lease as a result of a tenant breach then the notice is 28 days, regardless of the length of time the tenant has resided in the property.  

Furthermore some of these grounds are classed as mandatory and others discretionary because in the event of the tenant refusing to leave the property then the landlords will have to apply to the new Housing & Property Chamber (H&PC) to have the tenant evicted. 

If a mandatory ground has been used the H&PC has to issue an eviction order, however the if discretionary they will only do so if they consider it reasonable to do so.  The H&PC will be free to use for both landlord and tenants and will deal with all PRT related cases. 

Scotland's letting experts

 Aberdein Considine will provide further updates on the new private residential tenancy as and when they become available. 

In the meantime if landlords have any queries regarding this or the introduction of the letting agent regulations due in early 2018, click here.

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