What is a PRT anyway?

Landlords may know that there are changes approved by the government coming soon to the tenancy agreement that is used in the private rented sector for residential tenancies. Northwood Aberdeen are fully qualified and professionally trained to assist landlords with any changes in the private rented sector.

FAQ’s from landlords:

When is this happening?

The new Private Residential Tenancy (PRT) comes into force on 1st December 2017, replacing the current system of assured and short assured tenancies.

What happens to my current tenants short assured tenancy?

Existing assured and short assured tenancies are unaffected by the changes.

Where can I get an approved Private Rent tenancy agreement?

The Scottish Government has published a ‘model tenancy agreement’ (MTA) for landlords. Use of the MTA is optional, but if landlords choose not to use it, then certain statutory terms must appear in tenancy agreements. Northwood has ensured that our tenancies agreements meet these stringent requirements and offer additional protection though professionally drafted clauses.

Landlords must provide tenants with guidance whether they use MTA or not. There is no need for pre-tenancy notices such as the AT5 (notice that the tenancy is an assured tenancy), Tenant Information Pack or regarding the applicability of certain grounds for possession. However, landlords will still need to provide safety certificates and ensure properties meet the required standards etc.

As a PRT has no end date or duration, it can be terminated at any point from the start date, subject to relevant notice requirements, but landlords will have to rely on new grounds of possession. This process is very specific, and the incorrect notice or grounds will prevent possession being obtained.

Can I end a private rented tenancy?

Landlords can only end a PRT using one or more of the new 18 grounds for possession. As before, some of these are mandatory and some are discretionary and two are mixed grounds. We strongly recommend you seek professional advice before seeking possession and are happy to advise on this process.

To end the tenancy, the landlord must issue the tenant with what is called a “Notice To Leave” (NTL), detailing which of the grounds apply and providing relevant evidence.

Where the tenant has been entitled to occupy the property for 6 months or less at the time notices are served, the Notice period for all grounds is 28 days. Certain grounds, such as rent arrears will always have a notice period of 28days regardless of how long the tenant has been in the property. Otherwise, the period of notice will be 84 days.

Can I end the tenancy if my tenants are damaging the property?

Yes, there are clauses in relation to the tenant “destroying the property” Landlords on our guaranteed rent service are protected with the knowledge that Northwood have a liability in terms of the condition written into the guaranteed rent contract.

Can I end the tenancy if my tenants are in arrears?

Yes, there are provisions and conditions that must be met for the first-tier tribunal to grant this end of tenancy request, Northwood can provide further information.

Can my tenant end the private rented tenancy?

Tenants must give landlord at least 28 days’ notice, which can be given at any time after the PRT starts.

For landlords on our guaranteed rent service they will avoid this turnover of tenancies and are protected from this.

Can I get access to my property during the tenancy?

Access can only be granted by the tenant accept in an emergency.

Can I increase the rent in a private rented tenancy?

Rent can only be increased once a year from the start of the lease by giving tenants 3 months’ notice. Tenants will have 21 days to object. If they do, the matter will be determined by a rent officer who will set an “open market rent” for the property.

There are also provisions for Scottish Ministers to create Rent Pressure Zones (RPZ) to put further controls on rent increases within RPZs. RPZs can be created where rents are rising too fast, causing hardship to tenants and putting local authorities under pressure to provide housing or subsidise rents.

What if my tenant doesn’t leave?

If the tenant doesn’t leave property when the NTL expires, the landlord must apply to the new First-tier Tribunal: Housing & Property Chamber (HPC) to have the tenant evicted. Applications to HPC are free, and parties can represent themselves. If the ground is a mandatory one, then the tribunal must issue eviction order if the ground is established. With discretionary grounds, not only do the grounds need to be established, but granting the eviction order also must be reasonable in the circumstances.

Where can I find more info?

Northwood Aberdeen is ideally placed to assist landlords with a full team of staff that are trained and qualified with all matters relating to the private rented sector and are members of the Scottish association of landlords and the council of letting agents so have access to the below useful video that may help to summarise some of the key points: