Residential Tenancies – it’s all change!

On 1st December 2017, a new regime came into place for any new residential tenancies that commence after that date.

Gone is the old Short Assured Tenancy with its “clunky” signup where the tenant had to sign a form before even being allowed to enter into the tenancy agreement and the old “no fault” termination where the landlord could bring the tenancy to an end without any particular reason. Also, the threat of multiple rent increases has been lifted with specific procedures in place to only allow one rent review in a single calendar year.

So, what’s the new Private Residential Tenancy all about?

The main thrust of the new legislation is to give the tenant security of tenure and to provide some certainly when they take on a new tenancy.

It means that there is no more minimum term tenancy and, once the tenant moves in, they can stay for as long as they want (provided they’ve not breached any of the conditions of the tenancy or the landlord is able to bring the tenancy to an end on the basis of very specific prescribed circumstances).

If the tenant does want to terminate the tenancy, all they need to do is give the landlord 28 days’ notice – and if they agree with the landlord at the outset, this notice can be by email.

Landlords, on the other hand, when seeking to terminate a tenancy, can only do so under one (or more) of 18 prescribed reasons, some of which are mandatory and some discretionary. From a notice perspective, depending on circumstances, the notice of termination can be anything between 28 to 84 days!

when seeking to increase the rent or when trying to bring the tenancy to an end, there are prescribed forms the landlord has to use when sending notice to the tenant.

Should the tenant object to either the rent increase or the termination notice, they can apply to the First Tier Tribunal to intervene. It’s now the First Tier Tribunal and not the courts that will rule on tenancy terminations.

To help set out the position clearly for landlords and tenants, the Scottish Government has provided a “Model Private Residential Tenancy Agreement” and clear explanatory notes for both landlords and tenants. Parts of the tenancy agreement are mandatory and this means they must be used even if the landlord decides to have his own style of tenancy agreement.

There’s a wealth of information on the Scottish Government’s website and here are just a few of the important things you can read about:

The Model Private Residential Tenancy Agreement – click here.

Explanatory Notes for Landlords – click here.

Explanatory Notes for Tenants- click here.

Private Residential Tenancy, Easy Read Notes – click here.

The First Tier Tribunal – click here.

It is very important to note that all existing tenancies under the previous legislation continue to operate under that legislation. The new Private Residential Tenancies only apply to NEW TENANCIES taken on from 1st December 2017