NEW LEGAL OBLIGATIONS FOR LANDLORDS
The Private Housing (Tenancies) Scotland Act 2016 will take effect from 1st December 2017 and will introduce a new type of tenancy, known as a ‘Private Residential Tenancy’ (‘PRT’). After this new Act comes in to force (with a few limited exceptions), any new tenancy will be a PRT and it will not be possible to create a new short assured tenancy.
The two fundamental changes to Landlord/Tenant law are as follows:-
1. LEASE TERMINATION
Any existing short assured or assured tenancy will continue until either the tenant/landlord brings it to an end by serving a notice to quit.
If the tenant wants to end the new tenancy (PRT) they have to give the landlord at least 28 days’ notice in writing (unless they ask for a shorter period and you agree in writing). Note that the tenant can give this notice at any time.
Should the Landlord want to end the tenancy, they can only do so by using one of the specific grounds for eviction as set out in this Act (some of these grounds are mandatory and some are discretionary). For further details please refer to our website or contact one of our letting staff.
2. INCREASING THE RENT
If the landlord wants to increase the rent at least three months’ written notice must be given. The notice must be in accordance with the specific provisions of the legislation. It should be noted that the landlord can only increase the rent once a year.
If the tenant thinks the rent increase is too high, they can contact a rent officer within 21 days of receiving the notice. The rent officer has the power to determine the rent to be paid.
The most significant change is that there will no longer be a fixed lease term. Essentially the tenant is free to terminate the lease on demand (subject to the 28 days’ notice outlined above) but the landlord can only terminate under very specific circumstances. Other than in the case of a material breach of tenancy, the landlord intending to sell the property or the limited other circumstances specified in the Act the tenant will to all intents and purposes be able to remain in the property for as long as they like.
Notice from the Scottish Government regarding specific mandatory lease clauses is still awaited. We will closely monitor the position and take all necessary steps to ensure compliance with the new legislation.
If you have any queries regarding the above please do not hesitate to contact:
Gillian Cowan, Craig Niven or Pauline Traill
St Andrews office (Tel) 01334 477774
Cupar office (Tel) 01334 658043