Mas­sive re­form for Pri­vate Rented Sec­tor as Te­nan­cies Bill is pub­lished

The Oban Times - - Farming/Property -

The Pri­vate Hous­ing (Te­nan­cies) (Scot­land) Bill 2015 pro­poses a com­plete re­form of the cur­rent ten­ancy regime, mak­ing it one of the big­gest changes to ten­ancy leg­is­la­tion in over 25 years. For many land­lords the key ar­eas of con­cern are the pro­pos­als to re­move the right of a land­lord to end a lease nat­u­rally us­ing the so called “no fault ground”, pro­pos­als to al­low rent con­trols in des­ig­nated ar­eas, the im­pact of the pro­pos­als on the op­er­a­tion of the spe­cial­ist stu­dent let mar­ket and the im­pact of the pro­pos­als on the abil­ity of a land­lord to tackle anti-so­cial be­hav­iour and re­cover pos­ses­sion promptly when the ten­ant falls into rent ar­rears.

The main pro­pos­als are:

re­plac­ing as­sured and short as­sured te­nan­cies with a Scot­tish Pri­vate Res­i­den­tial Ten­ancy (SPRT), with land­lords re­quired to use a model ten­ancy agree­ment (to which they can add their own clauses to sup­ple­ment the pre­scribed ones);

te­nan­cies will have a fixed term of any du­ra­tion and will con­tinue in­def­i­nitely;

land­lords will only be able to end a ten­ancy if one of 16 grounds for pos­ses­sion ap­ply - in­clud­ing where the land­lord wants to use it for his own fam­ily, sell the prop­erty, com­plete ma­jor re­fur­bish­ments, ten­ant aban­don­ment or ma­jor breach such as ten­ant com­mit­ting anti-so­cial be­hav­iour or ac­cru­ing rent ar­rears.

• To end the lease land­lords will be re­quired to give 4 or 12 weeks’ no­tice us­ing one of the grounds and ten­ants will be re­quired to give be­tween 4 – 8 weeks. No­tice pe­ri­ods for both land­lords and ten­ants will be rel­a­tive to the ten­ancy du­ra­tion. • the grounds will all be manda­tory, al­though the breach grounds will only be so for very se­ri­ous breaches; Land­lords should note that the new regime will only ap­ply to new te­nan­cies af­ter leg­is­la­tion comes into force, which is pre­dicted to be in 2018.

The main driver for change has been the de­sire to in­crease se­cu­rity of ten­ure for ten­ants and in­crease the pre­dictabil­ity of rent lev­els. Hav­ing read the leg­is­la­tion, my con­cerns would be the re­moval of the “no fault” ground and pos­si­ble im­posed rent con­trols. Both th­ese fac­tors could dis­cour­age in­vest­ment in the sec­tor, re­sult­ing in lower rental stock avail­able for an ever-in­creas­ing de­mand for rental prop­erty in Scot­land – some­thing the Gov­ern­ment was want­ing to avoid.

The bill will be an­a­lysed and de­bated in Par­lia­ment over the com­ing months. Once the bill is ap­proved and en­acted, there will be a need for sec­ondary leg­is­la­tion be­fore the pro­pos­als can be im­ple­mented. This sec­ondary leg­is­la­tion will be fi­nalised dur­ing 2016-2017 and it is ex­pected that the new ten­ancy regime will take ef­fect from 2018. Both Scot­tish As­so­ci­a­tion of Land­lords (SAL) and the Coun­cil of Let­ting Agents (CLA) are lob­by­ing on be­half of land­lords and let­ting agents through­out the par­lia­men­tary de­bates and I will be watch­ing to see how the fi­nal leg­is­la­tion de­vel­ops over the com­ing months.

Want ex­pert ad­vice on your rental prop­erty? Call 01631 569 466 for a FREE, NO OBLI­GA­TION prop­erty in­spec­tion TO­DAY!

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