Changes for private residential landlords
New legislation came into force at the end of last year and will have a significant impact on the private rented sector in Scotland including landlords, letting agents and private renters.
The purpose of the Scottish private residential tenancy (SPRT) regime is to improve security, stability and predictability for tenants and provide safeguards for landlords, lenders and investors.
Renting out property without being registered with the council is a criminal offence and you can be served with a Rent Penalty Notice (which prevents you from charging your tenant rent) or fined up to £50,000 if found guilty.
Improvements for landlords include:
- no more confusing pre-tenancy notices, such as the AT5;
- where a tenant is in rent arrears, a landlord can refer a case for repossession more quickly;
- a Scottish Government 'model private residential tenancy agreement', which includes standardised mandatory and discretionary tenancy terms;
- a digital version of the Scottish Government 'model private residential tenancy agreement', an online tool that can be edited, allowing landlords to easily put together and send out a tenancy agreement suitable for their specific property;
- one simple notice when regaining possession of a property called a 'notice to leave' – this will replace the current 'notice to quit', 'section 33 notice' and 'notice of proceedings'; and
- 18 modernised grounds for repossession, which include new grounds where the property has been abandoned or the landlord intends to sell.
Any new tenancy starting on or after 1 December 2017 will be a private residential tenancy as long as:
- the property is let to a tenant as a separate dwelling. A property can still be considered a separate dwelling even if some of the core facilities are shared with other tenants. For example, if a tenant rents only a bedroom in a flat, but has a right to use a shared bathroom and kitchen, the property will be treated as a separate dwelling because the tenant has access to the range of facilities required for it to be regarded as a separate dwelling;
- the tenant lives in it as their only or main home;
- the tenancy isn't excluded under schedule 1 of the Act (e.g. holiday lets or social housing);
- the tenant is an individual (ie not a company)
- Your tenant will have the protections of a private residential tenancy, even if you give them a tenancy agreement for any other type of tenancy.
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