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PRIVATE RESIDENTIAL TENANCIES

 

From 1st December 2017 most of the Private Housing Tenancies (Scotland) Act 2016 will come into force and all private residential tenancies will be subject to the core rights and obligations set out in same.

In the main the Act provides improved security of tenure for tenants and streamlines the provisions for starting and ending a tenancy. It also provides a model tenancy agreement which has now been published by the Scottish Government together with tenancy statutory terms supporting notes and easy read notes

The model Agreement contains both mandatory clauses which must feature in any agreement prepared using this model and further discretionary terms which can be included at the option of the landlord.

If a landlord chooses not to use the model agreement, the landlord is still legally required to give a tenant a copy of the private residential tenancy statutory terms supporting notes.

The Scottish private residential tenancy will become the standard tenancy agreement between residential landlords and tenants and will replace the common types of residential tenancies i.e the short assured tenancy and the assured tenancy.

The main points to note are:

  • There is no longer any minimum period of let and no pre-tenancy notices are required
  • Certain tenancies are excluded e.g. agricultural tenancies of more than 2 acres, social housing tenancies and holiday lets
  • Purpose built student accommodation will be exempt (subject to certain rules) but all other student tenancies will fall within the regime
  • Tenancies will continue indefinitely unless the tenant wants to leave or the landlord can recover possession on one of the prescribed grounds for repossession. Grounds for repossession include the landlord wanting to sell the property or extensively refurbish same or there is a breach of the tenancy agreement by the tenant.
  • Only one notice to leave will be needed to end the tenancy. No matter how long the tenancy has lasted the tenant must give 4 weeks Different notice periods apply when a landlord is founding on one of the prescribed grounds.
  • The rent may be reviewed once a year. The landlord must give the tenant 3months notice of the increased rent. A tenant can challenge the proposed rent increase by seeking an order determining the rent from a rent officer.
  • Subject to certain conditions, partner, family members aged 16 or over and resident carers may succeed to a private residential tenancy on the death of a tenant.
  • Existing short assured and assured tenancies in force now will remain in force on the same terms and conditions. The parties could agree to convert same to private residential tenancies but the Act does not require this to be done.

 

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