Residential Tenancies – an update on future developments
Residential Tenancies – an update on future developments06 March 2019 Written by James & George Collie

The Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Bill was recently passed by the Scottish Parliament and is expected to come into effect perhaps as early as 2017.

The aim of the legislation is to create simpler tenancies, offer stability and security for private tenants and ensure predictability over rent increases. It also fundamentally changes the nature of the relationship between landlords and tenants from contractual to statutory. A single new tenancy type called a ‘Private Rented Tenancy’ will replace the current Assured and Short Assured regime, though exceptions will apply to purpose-built student accommodation and holiday lets.

The main measures contained in the Private Housing Tenancies Scotland Bill include:

  • Enhanced security for tenants, with the loss of the “no fault” ground, which allows landlords to seek possession of a property on the basis that the agreed period of let has come to an end;
  • No defined term of a lease and no minimum period of let;
  • New grounds for recovery of possession, some mandatory and some discretionary;
  • Rent increases limited to once every 12 months and with a right for tenants to refer matters to a rent officer;
  • The opportunity for local authorities to implement restrictions on rent increases in areas where there are excessive rent increases by the creation of Rent Pressure Zones;
  • Simplification of notice requirements with the replacement of Notices To Quit, Section 33 notices and Section 19 notices (AT6) by a new Notice to Leave with two notice periods for landlords and one for tenants and no need for pre-tenancy notices;
  • Introduction of a model tenancy agreement with mandatory clauses.

Supporters of the legislation argue that this creates a more streamlined and modernised system.  Pre-tenancy notices which can set out specific, tailored grounds for landlord repossession of that property will become a thing of the past and it is envisaged that tenancy agreements will be easier for all parties to understand.

Rent predictability is another policy aspiration of the legislation.  Landlords will be unable to increase rents any more than once per year and will have to provide three months’ notice when doing so. The tenant will also have the option to challenge what they deem to be an unreasonable rent increase by referring the matter to a Rent Officer who can then determine a ‘fair’ rent.  The Rent Officer’s decision can also be subject to appeal to the Private Rented Sector Tribunal.

Finally, a local authority will also have the ability to create designated ‘rent pressure zones’.  This will enable councils to apply rent caps in areas they determine have been subject of excessive rent increases in recent times.

Should you wish to discuss any aspect of this article, or indeed require advice on renting a private dwelling, please contact Senior Solicitor, Mary Birse, in our Stonehaven Office on 01569 763555 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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