New tenancy regime
As from 01 December 2017, any new residential leases generated will be known as Private Residential Tenancies (PRTs). The new regime does not affect existing tenancies, and any current Short Assured Tenancy will remain in place until the current tenant vacates.
The purpose of the new regime is to improve security for tenants and provide safeguards for landlords. There are no more confusing pre-tenancy notices to serve, and there will be quicker referrals for rent arrears cases.
What are the fundamental differences?
- The end of fixed term tenancies - only one date is needed on the lease, the start date. This legislation does not allow parties to agree a duration for the lease or an end date. The tenancy can be terminated at any point after the start date by the landlord or the tenant.
- The end to 'no fault' evictions- the landlord can only end the tenancy if one of the grounds for possession apply.
- Tenants can give 28 days' Notice to Leave- if the tenant wishes to leave, they must give the landlord 28 days' notice in writing. They can issue this at any point after the start date of the lease.
- Landlord notice periods - the notice for most grounds, if your tenant has been entitiled to occupy the property for six months or less, is 28 days. If your tenant has been entitled to occupy for longer than six months, they must be provided with 84 days' notice. There are exceptions to the 84 days' notice, and you are only required to serve 28 days' notice if using any of the following grounds (irrespective of how long your tenant has been in residence).
Those grounds are:
- Tenant is not occupying the property
- Tenant has breached the tenancy agreement (but not rent clauses)
- Tenant has owed some rent for three consecutive months
- Tenant convicted of using the property for immoral/illegal purposes or convicted of offence committed at/ near property
- Tenant has acted in anti-social manner
- Tenant associates with someone who has a criminal conviction or who has engaged in anti-social behaviour.
- Eviction - if the tenant does not leave the property when asked to on the Notice to leave the landlord (or their agent) needs to apply to the Housing & Property Chamber (HPC) to have the tenant evicted. Applications to the HPC are free of charge and landlords and tenants are expected to represent themselves at the chamber rather than using a solicitor. The HPC hearing will be run and determined by a panel comprising a solicitor who speacialises in tenancy legislation and at least one property/housing expert.
- Rent increases - the first rent increase can be carried out at any time after the start of the lease, but thereafter, it cannot be increased more frequently than one year. The tenant must be given three months' notice of a rent increase using the prescribed form.
For more information of the new regime a copy of the Scottish Government model tenancy can be found at http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2017/10/3669/downloads.
At ESPC Lettings we understand the importance of keeping up to date with new legislation. To find out how we can help you please contact a member of the team.