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Tenancies Bill

Tuesday, 8th December, 2015

The long anticipated Private Housing (Tenancies)(Scotland) Bill, outlining proposals for a new tenancy regime in Scotland, was published by the Scottish Government on 8th of October and can be read via tinyurl.com/qh274ls. The bill proposes a complete reform of the current tenancy regime, making the biggest changes to Scottish landlord/tenant legislation seen in over 25 years. These changed will affect all landlords, letting agents and tenants in Scotland.

The main proposals are as follows:
  • replacing assured and short assured tenancies with a 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 can 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. These include where the landlord wants to sell the property, use it for his own family, carry out major refurbishments and where the tenant has abandoned the property or committed a breach of the tenancy terms such as falling into rent arrears or committing anti-social behaviour. For a full list of the grounds see schedule 3 of the bill
  • the grounds will all be mandatory, although the breach grounds will only be so for very serious breaches
  • landlords will be required to give 4 or 12 weeks notice (depending on whether the period of occupation is less than or more than six months) to end the lease using one of the grounds. If a breach ground applies then 28 days' notice is required.
  • tenants will be required to give four or eight weeks notice (depending on whether the period of occupation is kess than or more than six months)
  • the regime will not apply to tenancies already in operation at the point the legislation comes into force, so existing assured and short assured tenancies will still be governed by the current legislation, with existing short assured tenancies retaining the no fault ground.

Once the bill is approved and enacted, there will be a need for a secondary legislation before the proposals can be implemented. This secondary legislation will be finalised during 2016-2017 and we expect that the new tenancy regime will take effect from 2018.





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