New dawn for Scotland’s private renters as new Private Residential Tenancy comes into force

scotland-house-home-stockSweeping new private renting laws that will significantly affect the rights of Scotland’s 760,000 private renters come into force today.

In the biggest change to the private rental sector in a generation, from today December 1st 2017, anyone signing a new tenancy for a private let will sign the new Private Residential Tenancy. All landlord and tenant disputes will be heard in a new specialist tribunal and, from January 2018, all letting agents will be required to register and adhere to a code of practice.

The Private Residential Tenancy will have no end date and can only be terminated by a tenant giving written notice to their landlord or by the landlord using one of 18 grounds for eviction, meaning an end to ‘no-fault’ evictions. Tenants will have the right to challenge a wrongful termination.

Landlords can only increase rent once a year and are required to give tenants three months’ written notice of any rise. Tenants can challenge this rise if they think it is unfair.

Landlords will also benefit from a more accessible repossession process and a simplified way to give notice.

Private Residential Tenancy: Any tenancy that starts on or after 1 December 2017 will be a private residential tenancy. This new tenancy will replace the assured and short assured tenancy and will bring in changes and improvements to the private rented sector, including:

  • No more fixed terms - private residential tenancies will be open-ended, meaning your landlord can’t ask you to leave just because you’ve been in the property for 6 months as they can with a short assured tenancy.
  • Rent increases- your rent can only be increased once every 12 months and if you think the proposed increase is unfair you can refer it to a rent officer.
  • Longer notice period- if you’ve lived in a property for longer than 6 months your landlord will have to give you at least 84 days’ notice to leave (unless you’re at fault).
  • Simpler notices- the notice to quit and notice of proceedings processes will be scrapped and replaced by a simpler notice to leave process.
  • On a visit to see Shelter Scotland’s new online enquiry system and meet with tenants, housing minister Kevin Stewart said the new tenancy will provide greater security and stability for tenants coupled with better safeguards for landlords, lenders and investors.

    He said: “The private rental sector has grown substantially in recent years and now provides a place to call home for 760,000 people.

    “This is the biggest change to the sector for a generation and will bring about significant improvements in private renting, benefiting both tenants and landlords.

    “We want to ensure everyone has a safe and warm place to call home. The new tenancy sits alongside our wider ambitions for housing in Scotland- not least our ambitious commitment to deliver at least 50,000 affordable homes during this Parliament, including that for rent.”

    MP3: Listen to housing minister Kevin Stewart MSP discuss the new Private Residential Tenancy

    MP3: Shelter Scotland’s head of communications and policy Adam Lang gives his take on today’s launch

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