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The Private Housing Lawyers Clarkston, Newton Mearns, Giffnock

  • The Law Society of Scotland

The Private Housing (Tenants) (Scotland) Act 2016 came into force on 1 December 2017 and is set to introduce significant changes to residential tenancies in Scotland. It aims to provide a less complex and more modern tenancy system and security of tenure for tenants.

Although the Act was passed in early 2016, it did not come into force fully until earlier this month. Now that it is in force, it is no longer possible to grant a Short Assured Tenancy (SAT). The assured tenancy scheme had been in force since 1989 and so its disappearance is a dramatic change to the tenancy system within Scotland.

What do landlords and tenants need to know?

  • As mentioned above, it will no longer be possible to enter into a Short Assured Tenancy. Instead we will now have the Private Residential Tenancy (PRT). However, there will be no automatic conversion from the SATs that are underway to the PRT, and any existing SATs will continue on the same terms and conditions.
  • It will no longer be possible to end a tenancy simply because the original agreed term has come to an end. The “no fault” repossession ground will no longer be available to landlords. Under SATs, this meant that landlords could effectively force tenants out of the property once the original term had expired, without any reason.
  • If landlords wish to end a tenancy they will now need to provide at least one ground of eviction. These include (but are not limited to) if the landlord wishes to redevelop the property, move into the property or use it for non-residential reasons, if the tenant has been in arrears for three consecutive months or has breached the tenancy agreement, or if an overcrowding notice has been served on the landlord.
  • Landlords will now be unable to increase rent more than once a year, and three months notice must be given to the tenant for any such increase. Should the tenant deem the increase unreasonable, it can be referred to a Rent Officer to determine what is fair and what should be paid.
  • Local authorities will now have the power to cap rent in areas they deem to have been subject to excessive rent increases. They can apply to the Scottish Ministers to have an area classed as a Rent Pressure Zone. Both Glasgow and Edinburgh City Council have already announced they intend to investigate the possibility of introducing Rent Pressure Zones.
  • Landlords will no longer have to issue pre-tenancy notices such as an AT5, which have been troublesome in the past.

It is hoped the new legislation will see tenants and landlords having equal power when it comes to negotiating a tenancy, however there have been some concerns that power is now too heavily weighted towards tenants. Only time will tell whether the new legislation will have a positive effect but it will hopefully modernise the tenancy system within Scotland.

Contact our Landlord and Tenant Solicitors Clarkston, Newton Mearns, Netherlee, Giffnock & Southside Glasgow

If you are a landlord or tenant looking for advice on the new legislation or any other private renting matter, please contact our expert team. We combine expert legal advice with a warm approach. To talk to our experienced and respected Landlord and Tenant team, contact us today on 0141 620 0800 or fill out our online enquiry form.

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