The Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016 introduced a new tenancy arrangement known as the 'Private Residential Tenancy'.
This tenancy arrangement replaced assured and short assured tenancy agreements with regard to new tenancies in Scotland as of 1 December 2017. Any existing assured and short tenancy agreements continue but will be replaced with private residential tenancy arrangements when due for renewal in the future.
What does this tenancy arrangement mean?
The main features of the private residential tenancy for tenants and landlords are detailed below:
No fixed terms - private residential tenancies are open ended meaning a landlord can no longer ask a tenant to leave after six months. This could occur with short assured tenancies.
Rent increases - rents can only be increased once every 12 months with landlords being required to provide three months notice of a proposed increase. If a proposed new rent level is felt unfair, a tenant can refer it to Rent Service Scotland within 21 days of receiving the notice. Rent adjudication is not available if the let property is in a rent pressure zone.
Longer notice periods - landlords have to give 28 days notice within the first 6 months or 84 days if more than six months.
Simpler notices - a "notice to leave" process replaces the previous 'notice to quit' and 'notice of proceedings' processes.
Modernised grounds for repossession - introduction of 18 modernised grounds for possession including new grounds where a property has been
Changes in jurisdiction - issues arising from evictions, disputes with rent determinations and other non criminal matters can be referred by either the tenant or the landlord to the First Tier Tribunal.
For local authorities, the Act provides the ability to introduce local rent caps for rent pressure areas.
Where can I get more information about the private residential tenancy?
The Scottish Government website provides information to both landlords and tenants on Private Residential Tenancies. It also provides a model tenancy agreement which landlords can use to create new tenancy agreements.
Shelter Scotland provides information for both landlords and tenants on new arrangements. It also offers free online training to landlords in relation to the changes.
Check the Scottish Landlord Register to find out if your landlord is registered or you are a landlord and want to register.
As of 31 October 2018, all letting agents must be registered. The mygov.scot website provides details about the Code of Practice letting agents must comply with and how to search to see if a letting agent is registered.
For advice on Housing Options contact your local housing office.