The New Private Residential Tenancy Regime

A new private residential tenancy regime came into effect in Scotland on 1 December 2017 which saw the old style assured and short assured tenancy agreements replaced with the Private Residential Tenancy (PRT). In many ways the changes make the creation of a residential tenancy much more straightforward with the removal of the need for an AT5 form, Tenant Information Pack (TIP) and prior notice of grounds to be issued in advance of a new tenancy agreement being established.

Although still early days for the PRT it appears that most landlords, tenants and agents have adapted well to the changes which only apply to tenancies created from 1 December 2017 onwards. Existing assured and short assured tenancies will continue as before until brought to an end by the landlord or the tenant.

As part of the changes a model tenancy agreement has been created by the Scottish Government which sets out a number of mandatory and discretionary clauses. Although it’s not necessary for landlords or agents to use the Government’s model tenancy agreement it is necessary for whatever agreement that is used to include all of the discretionary clauses.  Tenants must be issued with relevant supporting notes to accompany whatever version of the tenancy agreement that they are asked to sign. You can view the supporting notes by clicking here.

When it comes to ending a PRT the tenant must give 28 days’ notice of their intention to move out of the property whilst landlords must give 28 days if the lease is less than 6 months old or 84 days (12 weeks) if the lease has been in existence for over 6 months.

If the landlord wishes to regain possession of their property they must issue a Notice to Leave but they can only do so if one of 18 grounds for possession apply. In summary these are

1. Landlord intends to sell the property at market value within 3 months of tenant leaving (mandatory)

2. Property is to be sold by mortgage lender (mandatory)

3. Landlord intends to refurbish which will entail significantly disruptive works and it will be impracticable for the tenant to occupy the property during the work (mandatory)

4. Landlord intends to occupy the property as their principal home for at least 3 months (mandatory)

5. Family member intends to occupy the property as their principal home for at least 3 months (discretionary)

6. Landlord intends to use property for non-residential purpose (mandatory)

7. Property required for religious purpose (mandatory)

8. Tenant is no longer an employee of landlord (mandatory if application made within 12 months of tenant ceasing to be employee)

9. Tenant is no longer in need of supported accommodation (discretionary)

10. Tenant is not occupying the property (mandatory)

11. Tenant has breached tenancy agreement (but not rent clauses) (discretionary)

12. Tenant has owed some rent for 3 consecutive months (mandatory if on day of tribunal hearing tenant owes at least one months’ rent and arrears are not due to delay/failure in benefit payment) 13. Tenant convicted of using property for immoral/illegal purpose or convicted of offence committed at/near property (mandatory)

14. Tenant has acted in anti-social manner (discretionary)

15. Tenant associates with someone who has a criminal conviction or who has engaged in anti-social behaviour (discretionary)

16. Landlord has been refused registration or had registration revoked (discretionary)

17. Landlord’s HMO licence has been revoked (discretionary)

18. Overcrowding statutory notice has been served on the landlord (discretionary)

If the tenant doesn’t move out of the property when a valid Notice to Leave has been issued the landlord is required to apply to the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber) to have the tenant evicted. If the ground is mandatory and is subsequently proven then the Tribunal must issue an eviction order. If the ground is discretionary then the Tribunal will only issue an eviction order if it considers that it is reasonable to do so.

As with all big changes it will take time for everyone involved to get used to the requirements of the new regime but the early signs are good and it appears that they’ve been embraced positively by the majority of those involved in the private rented sector.

If you have any questions about how the new PRT might impact on you whether you are a landlord or a tenant please call us on 0131 226 2545 or email us.

Alternatively for more information on the Private Residential Tenancy click here.