The New Private Residential Tenancy in Scotland
The new Private Residential Tenancy (PRT) has come into force. All new tenancies in the private sector entered into on or after 1st December 2017 in Scotland will be the new Private Residential Tenancy. The new Private Residential Tenancy was introduced under the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016. The Scottish Government has released a model tenancy agreement which landlords can use to create the new Private Residential Tenancy.
The model agreement can be found here: http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0052/00526246.pdf
No new assured or short assured tenancies can be created on or after 1st December 2017.
What is a “Private Residential Tenancy”?
Section 1 of the 2016 Act provides that a tenancy is a Private Residential Tenancy where:-
(a) The tenancy is one under which a property is let to an individual (“the tenant”) as a separate dwelling,
(b) The tenant occupies a property (or any part of it) as the tenant’s only or principal home, and
(c) The tenancy is not one which Schedule 1 states cannot be a private residential tenancy.
Schedule 1 to the 2016 Act lists those tenancies which cannot be private residential tenancies and they include shops, licensed premises, agricultural land, holiday lets and properties with a resident landlord.
The 2016 Act provides that the landlord has a duty to provide written terms of the tenancy and any other information which the Scottish Ministers may require by regulation. The landlord cannot charge a tenant for a written private residential tenancy to be produced. Where a written tenancy is not produced by a landlord, the tenant can apply to the First-tier Tribunal for the tenancy terms to be drawn up.
What will happen to existing assured or short assured tenancies after 1st December 2017?
Regulations have been produced which confirm that where an assured or short assured tenancy was created before 1st December 2017 and it continues in existence on that date, it will continue to be an assured or short assured tenancy. Further, where a new contractual tenancy comes into existence after 1st December 2017 at the ish of a short assured tenancy which was a short assured tenancy prior to 1st December 2017, it shall continue to be a short assured tenancy.
Once a short assured tenancy which commenced prior to 1st December 2017 and continued thereafter is terminated either by landlord or by tenant, any new tenancies being created with a new tenant thereafter shall require to be a new Private Residential Tenancy using the model agreement.
How do I repossess a Private Residential Tenancy?
The new Private Residential Tenancy provides tenants with more security of tenure than they currently have under a short assured tenancy. The “no fault” repossession route under the current provisions of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1998 will not apply to the new Private Residential Tenancy. Private Residential Tenancies will have a start date, but will not have an end date. The landlord can only look to terminate a Private Residential Tenancy where they have a ground to do so. There are four categories of grounds: The let property is required for another purpose; the tenant’s status; the tenants conduct and legal impediment to let continuing. The landlord must serve a prescribed notice called a “notice to leave” which must specify which one (or more) of the 18 grounds of repossession which are set out in the 2016 Act are being relied upon, and the date on which the landlord can apply to the First-tier Tribunal to seek a repossession order.
A tenant must be given a minimum period of notice before the landlord can apply to the First-tier Tribunal for a repossession order. Where the tenant has been in the property for less than six months, the period is 28 days. Where the tenant has been in the property for more than six months, the period is 84 days. Once the tenant has failed to vacate the property as at the specified date, the landlord can make his application to the First Tier Tribunal for the repossession order.
If you want more information about the new Private Residential Tenancy, or wish to discuss your current circumstances, please do not hesitate to contact our Property Team on 01620 820982.
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