New tenancy regulations came into force in Scotland on 1 December 2017. New tenancies will now be Private Residential Tenancies (PRTs) and have different regulations to Short Assured Tenancies. Some of the main changes are:
- PRT agreements must retain the mandatory elements of the model provided by the Scottish government with discretionary elements permissible
- Tenancies are open ended, specifying a start but not an end date
- Tenants can now give 28 days’ notice to quit at any point once the tenancy has started
- The process of giving notice to quit has been simplified for landlords with a single Notice to Quit form that needs to be issued.
- There are now 18 grounds for landlords to give Notice to Quit rather than 17 but landlords must use one of these grounds. New grounds include the landlord wanting to sell, move back into the property or carry out significant renovations.
- In the first 6 months of the tenancy or if the landlord is using certain grounds for giving notice to quit (including breach of the agreement by the tenant) they must give 28 days’ notice to quit. After 6 months, if using other grounds, they must give 84 days’ notice.
- The process of following up on a Notice to Quit when the tenant doesn’t leave the property by the date specified has been simplified and it should be less costly. A free application can be made to the new Housing and Property Chamber (HPC) and the process should not require instructing a solicitor.
- Rent increases will be restricted to a maximum of one increase a year and 3 months’ notice will need to be given. As before, tenants can apply to have their rent reviewed externally but this will now be through the new HPC.
- Local councils can apply to the Scottish Government to establish a Rent Pressure Zone (RPZ) if they feel rents are rising too quickly in a particular area and causing unnecessary hardship to tenants.
More information about private residential tenancies is available here.