Major changes to tenants’ rights have come into force.
New rules mark the biggest change to the private rental sector in a generation.
Anyone beginning a private let from now has an ongoing right to stay in their accommodation
as fixed term rental periods are abolished.
The new private residential tenancy (PRT) has no end date and can only be terminated
by a tenant giving written notice to their landlord or by the landlord using one
of 18 grounds for eviction.
Eviction includes breaching tenancy agreement, three months rent arrears, anti-social
behaviour, or the tenant being convicted for a crime at the property.
Other reasons includes the property being sold, major renovations, changing to non-residential
use or the landlord or their close relative intends to live in it.
Tenants will have the right to challenge a wrongful termination.
Landlords can only increase rent once a year and are required to give tenants three
months’ written notice of any rise. Tenants can challenge this rise if they think
it is unfair.
Tenants are to give their landlord 28 days' notice in writing to end the tenancy.
Landlords will also benefit from a more accessible repossession process and a simplified
way to give notice.
Existing tenancies will not change automatically but carry on until the tenant or
the landlord brings it to an end by serving notice.
Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said: “The private rental sector has grown substantially
in recent years and now provides a place to call home for 760,000 people.
“We want to ensure everyone has a safe and warm place to call home. The new tenancy
sits alongside our wider ambitions for housing in Scotland- not least our ambitious
commitment to deliver at least 50,000 affordable homes during this Parliament, including
that for rent.
Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said the rules represents a “new dawn
for all private renters in Scotland and these new laws bring unprecedented security
of tenure to private renters with landlords now needing a good reason to evict tenants.
John Blackwood of the Scottish Association of Landlords says the changes will make
life considerably easier for landlords with improved and clarified grounds for eviction,
alongside a clearly defined process.
He added: “The new clauses will make it easier for landlords to ensure contracts
are fully compliant with the law as well as being easier for both them and tenants
to understand, hopefully reducing tension and unnecessary disagreements.
“We also hope this will make it easier to identify rogue landlords and drive them
out of the sector whilst encouraging the overwhelming number of landlords who act
responsibly to play their part in increasing the supply of housing available in Scotland.”