All tenancies in the private rented sector starting on or after 1 December 2017 will be private residential tenancies. All existing tenancies, which are mainly short assured tenancies, will continue until ended following the correct procedure. The following is a summary of the main changes:
No more fixed terms and no more “no-fault” Evictions
The new tenancies will be open ended. Landlords must have grounds for eviction and evidence to prove that the grounds are valid. Tenants will be able to challenge wrongful terminations and, if successful, will be entitled to compensation of up to six months’ rent.
Rent can only be increased once every 12 months and 3 months’ notice of the increase must be given in a specific form. Tenants can challenge the increase by referring it to a rent officer who will decide what a fair rent for the property should be. However, this could mean lowering or raising the rent.
Tenants who have lived in a property for 6 months or more must be given at least 84 days’ notice to leave (unless in breach of the tenancy agreement). Tenants who wish to leave must give the Landlord 28 days’ notice.
No more pre-tenancy AT5 notice or Tenant Information Pack and no more notice to quit, s.33 notices and AT6 to end the tenancy. There will be no pre-tenancy notices and there will be one notice to leave at the end. If Landlord and Tenant agree then all documents can be sent by email.
Model Tenancy Agreement
The Scottish Government has published model private residential tenancy terms that must be used. Parties are free to add additional clauses to their tenancy agreement. There are also guidance notes which must be issued to Tenants.
Tribunal not Court
All disputes will be dealt with by a new Housing Tribunal and not the Sheriff Court. It is hoped that this will make the process faster, cheaper and more accessible.
Please contact Steven Whitelaw here at JHS LAW for more information.