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Private Rented Sector Tenancies

Posted by on April 17, 2015

In October 2014, the Scottish Government published their first consultation on the introduction of new tenancies for the private rented sector. Receiving over 2,500 responses from parties including Tenants, Landlords, Letting Agents and other organisations, the Scottish Government have now issued a second consultation paper on the matter.

The new consultation paper amends and, in some cases, builds upon the initial proposals outlined in the previous consultation by drawing on responses received.

Unchanged Proposals:

  • Removal of the ‘No-Fault’ Ground
    • Any Scottish Government Bill going forward will maintain that landlords will no longer be entitled to automatically recover a property through service of a Notice to Quit and Notice under section 33 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1988.
  • Removal of Pre-Tenancy Notices
    • Landlords will no longer be required to issue the pre-tenancy notice of the repossession grounds to the tenant or issue an AT5.
  • Introduction of a Model Tenancy Agreement
    • The Scottish Government propose that a prescribed tenancy agreement be issued to all tenants by their landlords.

Amended Proposals:

  • Length of Tenancy and Roll-Over Arrangement
    • The Scottish Government now propose that all tenancies last for an initial period agreed between both parties where the tenant would be unable to give notice and landlords would be unable to recover possession unless a recovery ground has been satisfied. After the agreed initial period, it is proposed that the tenancy should continue indefinitely until the tenant gives notice or the landlord can rely on a ground for repossession.
  • Notice to Quit
    • It is now proposed that only two periods of notice which correspond to the period of time a tenant has resided at the property be introduced, namely; four weeks for tenancies under six months and twelve weeks for those over six months, now to be called ‘Notice to Leave’.
  • Grounds for Repossession
    • It is now suggested that the grounds should be reduced to eleven, with some of them resulting in mandatory recovery of the property and others being left to the discretion of the tribunals. Mandatory grounds suggested include; sale of the property, mortgage repossession, where the tenant has failed to pay full rent for three consecutive months, where rent arrears total one month’s full rent, abandonment, and where anti-social behaviour has resulted in a criminal conviction.
  • Shortened Period of Notice
    • The Scottish Government propose that where the tenant has been anti-social or has breached a condition of their tenancy agreement that the landlord would be entitled to issue the tenant with 28 days’ notice to quit.

The removal of the ‘No-Fault’ ground is central to the Scottish Government’s approach and will increase security of tenure within the private rented sector. However, it is still to be seen how their proposals, if enacted, would interact with stability and investment in the private rented sector; which is something the Scottish Government say they want to promote.

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