Private Residential Tenancies
The 1st December 2017 will see the launch of the long awaited Private Residential Tenancy (PRT), a “model” tenancy agreement created by the Scottish Government.
These new tenancy agreements will contain certain mandatory clauses. The Government have produced a model tenancy agreement which can be used, but landlords and letting agents can adapt some of the clauses provided that alterations do not contradict or conflict with the mandatory clauses.
What this means to you now?
If you are currently leasing your property under a Short Assured Tenancy or you grant a Short Assured Tenancy before the 1st December 2017, that tenancy will continue under the current regime until it comes to an end either by termination by the tenant or at your instigation.
Any new tenancy you create on or after the 1st December 2017 will be a Private Residential Tenancy.
The model tenancy can be viewed here
Important changes to be introduced by the new PRT include:
- Only one date. A PRT only has one date – the start date. There is no longer any fixed contractual term. The legislation does not allow the parties to agree a duration.
- The tenancy will continue indefinitely and can be terminated at any point after the start date by the tenant, or the landlord on giving the appropriate notice and, on the part of the landlord, stating one of the grounds for repossession listed in the legislation.
- The only document required to end the tenancy will be a Notice to Leave.
- Rent cannot be reviewed more than once in a 12 month period and reviews can only be effected on the landlord giving at least 3 months notice.
- If the Tenant feels that the reviewed rent is too high they can ask a Rent Officer to set the rent according to the open market level.
- Legislation allows a local authority to apply to the Scottish Ministers to impose a “rent pressure zone” which will enable the local authority to control rent increases in specific areas.
- The Tenant must notify the landlord of persons occupying the property (either at the commencement or at a later date) over the age of 16 who are not joint tenants. The Tenant is ultimately responsible for the terms of the lease and all actions of all persons occupying the property.
- Deposits cannot exceed two months rent.
- It is an offence to make your tenant pay for anything other than the rent and deposit, e.g. administration fees, premiums, additional deposits or other additional charges (whether refundable or not)
Ending a PRT
The tenant can terminate the tenancy at any time after the start date on giving the landlord the requisite notice period. The end date of the tenancy specified in any notice given by the tenant to the landlord will be the day after either a date mutually agreed between the landlord and the tenant or, if there is no agreement 28 days after the notice has been delivered.
The landlord can terminate the tenancy only if one of the 18 grounds for possession apply. These are listed in the “model tenancy agreement”. Notice periods which apply to landlords are 28 days if the tenant has been entitled to occupy the property for six months or less or 84 days if the tenant has been entitled to occupy the property for over six months.
We will issue further guidance and information relating to the new Private Residential Tenancies as and when this is available. In the meantime should you wish to discuss your individual circumstances with us in more detail please feel free to contact our Leasing Manager, Maureen Blease.