The Scottish Short Assured Tenancy has come to an end and has been replaced by the Private Residential Tenancy.
The new Private Residential Tenancy (PRT) regime came into force on 1st December 2017. This means that any tenancy agreement entered into from this date will be a Private Residential Tenancy and not a Short Assured Tenancy.
The new regime does not affect existing tenancies such as assured and short assured tenancies provided the fixed term is still running or they are renewing by tacit relocation. These will continue to operate under the old regime.
The most significant changes for landlords are as follows:
- Only one date is needed on the lease – the start date. The legislation does not allow the parties to agree a duration for the lease or an end date. The tenancy can be terminated at any point after the start date by the landlord or tenant.
- The period of notice required by a landlord is 28 days or 84 days depending on what ground is being used and how long the tenancy has been running for.
- The landlord can only terminate the lease on certain grounds. The ‘no fault’ ground has been done away with.
- If the tenant wants to leave, they must give the landlord at least 28 days’ notice in writing. They can issue this at any point after the start date.
- The first rent increase can be carried out at any time after the start of the lease but thereafter the rent cannot be increased more frequently than once a year.
The landlord can only end the tenancy if one of 18 grounds for possession apply. These are summarised below: –
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)
The notice period for most grounds is 28 days if the tenant has been entitled to occupy the property for 6 months or less, and 84 days if the tenant has been entitled to occupy the property for more than 6 months.
Grounds 10-15 require 28 days’ notice, regardless of the duration of time the tenant has been entitled to occupy the property.
To end the tenancy the landlord must issue the tenant with a prescribed notice called a notice to leave, detailing which of the above grounds apply.
If the tenant doesn’t leave the property when asked to on the notice to leave, then the landlord needs to apply to the HPC (Housing and Property Chamber) to have the tenant evicted. Applications to the HPC will be free of charge and landlords and tenants are expected to represent themselves at the chamber rather than using a solicitor. The HPC hearing will be run and determined by a panel comprising a solicitor who specialises in tenancy legislation and at least one property/housing expert. If the ground is mandatory (as indicated in the list of grounds above) then the tribunal has to issue an eviction order if the ground is proven. If the ground is discretionary then the tribunal will only issue an eviction order if it considers that it is reasonable to do so.