Changes to the private rented sector in Scotland

February 8, 2018

It is interesting to see how the private rental sectors in both Wales and Scotland are becoming increasingly devolved from England.

Landlords across the UK already have to be aware of over 160 Government statues and regulations for rental property, and now differing legislation, depending on where your properties are, is being added into the mix!

For Scotland, there have been significant changes in recent months.

Private Residential Tenancy

The Private Residential Tenancy (PRT) rules came into affect on 1st December 2017 and  brought an end to fixed-term rentals, meaning leases will effectively be open-ended.

Rent increases can only be made once every 12 months, and tenants who believe them to be unfair can take them to a rent officer.

All landlord and tenant disputes are now being heard in a new specialist tribunal.

The new PRT has brought greater security for tenants as “no-fault” evictions will no longer be possible.

Other key measures include:

>Longer notice periods, with tenants who have been in a property for more than six months receiving at least 84 day notice to leave, unless they are at fault

>Simpler notices, with a simpler notice to leave process

>The introduction of a model tenancy agreement which can be used by landlords to set up a tenancy

The new law does, however, allow landlords to ask tenants to leave on a number of grounds.  There are 18 grounds for eviction including wanting to sell or refurbish the property or if they intend to live there themselves.

If the tenant fails to vacate at the end of the notice period, the landlord can apply to a tribunal for an eviction notice.

The Scottish Association of Landlords has a helpful video explaining the new PRT:

New Letting Agent Code of Practice

A new statutory Code of Practice for letting agents, which aims to improve standards and empower tenants, came into effect on the 31st January 2018.

This requires Letting agents to join a register of letting agents, and key individuals in agencies must meet a minimum level of training.

Should they fail to meet the standards expected they can be removed from the register, preventing them from operating as a letting agent.

Landlords and tenants can use the code to challenge poor practice and, if necessary, enforce it through the new First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber).

The code also sets out standards that must be met in how letting agents deliver services. It includes specific requirements on how clients’ money should be handled.

The code has been brought in to help raise standards in the Scottish private rented sector, and it is of wider interest as the Scottish PRS has very often been a “test bed” for legislation that has subsequently been brought into English law.

The full code of practice is available on-line.

Northwood’s Scottish offices are all compliant with the new regulations and can be found here:

Aberdeen

01224 218450

207 – 211 Rosemount Place
Aberdeen
Aberdeenshire
AB25 2XS

Visit the office >

Central Scotland

01324 671477

9 – 11 Bank Street
Falkirk
Stirlingshire
FK1 1NB

Visit the office >

Dundee

01382 221 343

2 Panmure Street
Dundee
DD1 2BW

Visit the office >

Dunfermline & Fife

01383 667600

15 Pitreavie Court
Dunfermline
KY11 8UU

Visit the office >

Edinburgh

0131 343 1717

13 Comely Bank Road
Edinburgh
EH4 1DR

Visit the office >

Glasgow

0141 423 4433

Skypark 5 (Unit 4), 45 Finnieston Street
Glasgow
G3 8JU

Visit the office >

Please do not hesitate to contact any of our Scottish offices if you need assistance in renting out your property.  They are always there to support landlords and talk through our lettings options – from tenant find right through to our market-leading Guaranteed Rent service.

Northwood is one of the largest and most recognised estate agents in the U.K. and the leading supplier of Guaranteed Rent to give landlords complete peace of mind.

Find us on Twitter @northwoodUK or visit our YouTube Channel.

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