The New Private Residential Tenancy
1st December 2017 saw the introduction of the new legislation on private tenancies. The new type of tenancy, to be called a Private Residential Tenancy, will make some sweeping changes. We should also point out at the outset that any existing tenancies currently in place remain subject to the current law relating to those tenancies.
Here’s what’s in the new legislation:
No fixed term tenancy
Once a tenancy has started, it will continue until either the landlord or tenant gives notice to the other that the tenancy is to be brought to an end. There is no longer any fixed term in this type of tenancy. A tenant can give notice to end the lease anytime. A landlord must have a reason that falls into one of a eighteen of categories before being able to end the tenancy. There is also no longer a need to sign any pre-tenancy notices as there is under the current scheme.
Once the tenancy has started, the landlord can seek a rent increase at any time. After that increase, the rent cannot then be increased more than once in any 12-month period. The landlord has to give the tenant 3 months’ notice of a rent increase and must use a specific form for this. If tenants think the increase proposed it too much, they can as a rent offices to determine what the correct rent should be. There’s a form for this too.
Terminating the Tenancy
A tenant can bring the tenancy to an end at any time after the start date by simply giving the landlord 28 days’ written notice (and there is provision in the legislation to include email for these kinds of communications).
Gone is the “no fault” termination where a landlord could bring the tenancy to an end without any reason. The landlord can only bring the tenancy to an end if the reason falls into one of 18 specific grounds. If the tenant doesn’t leave voluntarily, the landlord can apply to the First Tier Tribunal for an order that terminates the tenancy.
There are compulsory and discretionary grounds included and if a landlord asks the First Tier Tribunal to terminate the tenancy on one of the compulsory grounds, it must do so. If the ground for ending the tenancy is a discretionary ground, the Frist Tier Tribunal does not have to grant an order to end the tenancy.
The grounds for termination are contained in the tenancy agreement and are also available on the Scottish Government website.
If the tenant has been entitled to occupy the property for 6 months or less The period of notice for most grounds for termination is 28 days (4 weeks). if the tenant has been entitled to occupy the property for more than 6 months the period of notice is 84 days (12 weeks). However, there are 6 grounds where 28 days’ notice is required regardless of the duration of time the tenant has been entitled to occupy the property.
Finally, to end the tenancy, the landlord must issue a notice to leave to the tenant specifying which of the grounds apply.
If the tenant does not leave the property when asked to on the notice to leave, the landlord needs to apply to the First Tier Tribunal to have the tenant evicted. Applications to the First Tier Tribunal are free of charge and landlords and tenants are expected to represent themselves rather than using a solicitor.
The new regime does not affect existing assured and short assured tenancies which will continue to operate under the existing legislation.
If you would like to know more about the new tenancy legislation, visit the Scottish Government website by clicking here.
If you would like advice on the new legislation or have a problem with an existing tenancy agreement, please get in touch.
Call us now at whichever office is most convenient for you:
Dumfries Office: 01387 255 251, Castle Douglas Office: 01556 503 744,
Dalbeattie Office: 01556 611 247 or Kirkcudbright Office: 01542 882 537
or click here to complete our online contact form with your enquiry.