Residential Rural scotland

New legislation now in force for private residential rented sector in Scotland

Q4 2017

The introduction of the new Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016 today means that it is no longer possible to create Short Assured Tenancies and any new residential tenancies put in place will follow the format of a Private Residential Tenancy (PRT).

Any Short Assured Tenancies created prior to the 1 December 2017 will continue under the previous regime.

The new act makes significant changes to private residential tenancies and it is essential that landlords ensure they are familiar with the new regulations, say land agents Strutt & Parker.

A significant change implemented by the new PRTs includes the removal of a fixed term, a measure designed to provide tenants with greater security of tenure. When considered alongside the tenant’s notice period having been reduced from 2 months to 28 days a tenant could in theory move in on the first of a month, serve notice the same day and leave on the 28th. Furthermore, the ‘no fault’ clause has not been included in the PRT which means that landlords instead must turn to one of the mandatory or discretionary grounds provided within the legislation to regain vacant possession.

The Scottish Government has provided a model tenancy which includes these 18 mandatory and discretionary clauses. The landlord can choose to decide which discretionary clauses to incorporate into the tenancy agreement.

Lorna Stewart, land agent in Strutt & Parker’s Banchory office, said: “It is not a requirement to use the Government’s model tenancy, however it does include all of the mandatory clauses. It is also possible to edit and add supplementary terms so long as they do not contravene the legislation. All tenancies must be accompanied by the Easy Read Notes which explain the tenancy agreement.”

She added that landlords should carefully review model tenancies and ensure relevant clauses are included to reflect their specific circumstances. Additional points to consider is the provision of private drainage or water supplies, policies on installing TV aerials and satellite dishes and rules on keeping pets at the property.

Whilst two of the grounds for recovering possession include selling the property or the landlord wishing to move into the property, it is not possible to recover possession to house an employee. Therefore, careful attention should be given by landlords to the strategic aims for a property/business when considering the future use of a dwelling.

Miss Stewart said: “As a result of the new tenancy it is likely that tenants will have to undergo a more comprehensive referencing process when applying for a property. Landlords will need to be vigilant when advertising properties to let, and in deciding who to let them to.

For further information, please contact the Banchory office on 01330 824888.