Anyone who lets out a residential property to tenants, or plans to do so, should be aware that new legislation is on its way. The time of arrival is as yet unknown but is expected to be late 2017 or early 2018.
Whilst the timing may be vague, what is certain is that the new legislation will make major changes to renting and letting residential property in Scotland.
Under the current system, landlords let property under ‘assured tenancies’ or ‘short assured tenancies’. The new legislation will replace these with the Scottish Private Residential Tenancy, or SPRT.
The government’s intention in introducing the SPRT is to create greater stability in the private rented housing market. Changes for landlords will include simplified rules for giving tenants notice.
Less welcome to landlords will be tenants having greater security of tenure under the new system.
Currently if you let a flat for six months or more, you know you can get it back on the “no fault” ground, assuming your paperwork is completed and delivered properly. With the new SPRT, landlords will no longer have this automatic right to repossess the property. Instead they will need to show grounds for repossession, such as selling the property, a family member wanting to live there, rent arrears or anti-social behaviour. The law on this is not straight forward and advice should be sought.
Once the new legislation takes effect, no short assured tenancies can be created. While existing tenancies will remain in place, depending on the terms of the tenancy agreement, some will become SPRTs when they reach the end of their current term.
Although no arrival date for the SPRT has yet been fixed, it could come into force as early as December 2017. We strongly recommend watching out for its advent, and getting advice about how its introduction will affect you and what you need to do.