Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016
The Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016 has introduced important changes which Scottish landlords and tenants ought to familiarise themselves with. The new tenancy under Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016 will be known as a private residential tenancy (“PRT”). This new Act is expected to come into force in late 2017.
Under the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016 the main points to note are:-
(1) Tenancy Terms Future regulations will set out statutory terms of a PRT which all landlords must include in the tenancy they wish to grant.
(2) All landlords are required to provide the tenant with a written tenancy which must contain information which may be set out under secondary legislation.
(3) The First-tier Tribunal will have the power to draw up terms if no lease is provided or if it is unlawful.
(4) If a landlord fails to provide information (one item of information) as required under the Act the First-tier Tribunal can sanction the landlord to pay the tenant up to the equivalent to 3 months rent. Landlord will have to pay up to 6 months’ rent if there is a failure to provide both a lease and at least one other required item of information.
(5) You can only review the rent once every 12 months
(6) Should a landlord wish to review the rent then you must give the tenant 3 months advance notice of the review
(7) Within 21 days of receiving the notice the tenant can refer the rent-increase notice to the rent officer who will set the open market rent
(8) The landlord or tenant may appeal the rent officer’s decision to the First-tier Tribunal which may set the rent
(9) The new PRT can only be ended in accordance with the Act.
(10) Lawfully granted sub-tenancies will have the same protection as the mid-landlord’s tenancy
(11) Where ownership of a property let under a PRT is transferred the landlord’s interest under the tenancy transfers with it Termination by the Tenant
(12) The tenant can bring the PRT to an end by providing the landlord with 28 days’ written notice after the expiry of the initial term
(13)This notice period cannot be extended at the outset of the agreement but can be altered by agreement after the PRT has begun Termination by the Landlord
(14) The landlord can issue the tenant with a notice to leave at any point after the tenancy has commenced but only if one of the grounds specified in schedule 3 is met.
(15) If the tenant does not leave the landlord can apply to the First-tier Tribunal to issue an eviction order
(16) The First-tier Tribunal can issue an eviction notice if it finds that one of the eviction grounds in schedule 3 applies
(17) If the tenant has occupied the let property for less than 6 months the notice period is 28 days
(18) If the eviction is due to the tenant’s breach of the lease or behaviour, the notice period is 28 days
(19) If the tenant has occupied the property for over 6 months and the eviction is not due to the tenant’s breach of the lease or behaviour, the notice period is 84 days
(20) The landlord must notify the local authority that he is seeking to apply for an eviction notice from the First-tier Tribunal
(21) If the tenant does not leave the property after being issued an eviction notice, the case can then proceed to the Sheriff Court Wrongful Termination
(22) Where a PRT has been brought to an end by an eviction order from the First-tier Tribunal and it is then found that the Tribunal was misled into issuing the order, the Tribunal can issue a wrongful-termination order
(23) Where the PRT was brought to an end without an eviction order (tenant left on notice to leave) an application can be made to the Tribunal for a wrongful-termination order if it believed the tenant was misled into ceasing occupation
(24) A wrongful-termination order is an order requiring the landlord to pay the tenant an amount not exceeding six months’ rent
(25) When the Tribunal issues a wrongful-termination order it must notify the local authority where the landlord is registered and that Order will then be raised in a landlord’s re-registration process Death of the Tenant
(26) A PRT is not terminated on the death of a sole tenant if the PRT has not been inherited previously and there is a qualifying successor
(27) A qualifying successor is a partner, direct family member or carer and succession rights apply in that order
(28) The successor must have been living in the property as their principal home for at least 12 months before the lawful tenant died
(29) The landlord must be been given written notice that the person was living there as their principal home and would qualify as a successor should the tenant die.
Landlords will find that it is going to be more difficult to obtain vacant possession as the “no fault” ground for termination, which is commonly used at present to ensure that a short assured tenancy comes to an end on the due date, will disappear with the introduction of the new PRT
This will be of relevance to estates and farms with large or small portfolios of let properties
Note:- there is no ground for repossession if a cottage is required for an employee; this may make it difficult in rural areas where a new employee, perhaps for a diversified business, requires a accommodation.
properties that are situated in a Rent Pressure Zone rent increases will be limited to an inflation-linked formula (CPI +1%).