On 1st December 2017, a new private residential tenancy regime will come into effect in Scotland. Landlords will no longer be permitted to grant Short Assured Tenancies or Assured Tenancies. These new measures are being introduced by the Scottish Government with a view to improving safeguards for all parties, included tenants, landlords, lenders, and investors.
Under the terms of the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016, all new tenancy agreements for private residential properties created from 1st December 2017 will be open-ended Private Residential Tenancy Agreements (PRTAs).
The new PRTAs mean that there will no longer be minimum or fixed periods of let, such as six months, 12 months, etc. Instead, residential properties will be let to tenants until they decide to leave and provide 28 days’ notice in writing, or until the landlord chooses to claim possession of the property.
Landlords will only be permitted to increase rent once per year and with three months’ notice to tenants.
Grounds for obtaining possession of property
Landlords can no longer evict tenants on the “no fault” ground that is currently available under Short Assured Tenancies by serving a Section 33 Notice and a Notice to Quit. To obtain possession of property from tenants, landlords must use one or more just grounds (reasons) for ‘eviction’. These include:
- Landlord wishes to sell the property
- Lender wishes to sell the property
- Landlord or one of his/her family members wish to live in the property
- Landlord wants to refurbish the property
- Landlord intends to use to property for non-residential purposes
- Rent is in arrears
- Tenant is in breach of tenancy
- Tenant has displayed anti-social behaviour
In order to claim possession under one of the permitted grounds, landlords must give 28 days’ notice (if the tenant has been occupying the property for six months or less) or 84 days’ notice (if the tenant has been occupying the property for more than six months). However, there are certain circumstances—such as antisocial behaviour or rent arrears—when 28 days’ notice is sufficient, regardless of how long a tenant has occupied a property.
Disputes arising between tenants and landlords will no longer be dealt with by the sheriff court. Instead, they will be resolved by the new housing and property tribunal chamber.
Existing Short Assured Tenancies
If you currently let a property to a tenant on a short assured tenancy, however, this will not come to an automatic end when the new regulations come into effect on December 1st, provided the tenancy agreement was entered into prior to this date. Existing short assured tenancies will continue until ended by either party and will continue to be governed by the Housing (Scotland) Act 1988.
Help and Advice for Landlords
Clyde Property’s letting specialists are fully up-to-date and versed on all legal requirements relating to property letting in Scotland. If you are an existing landlord or you’re considering letting a property in the near future, our letting team at Clyde Property will be more than happy to provide help, information and guidance regarding your obligations under the new tenancy regime, ensuring you and your tenants meet all of the legal requirements and are fully safeguarded.
Clyde Property is a leading independent, multiple award winning estate and letting agent with 30 years’ experience in selling and letting property in Scotland. Just call your local Clyde Property branch today, for friendly, impartial advice on finding your next dream home.