New Scottish tenancy agreements in 2017

Scottish Tenancy Agreement

New private tenancy agreements are set to be introduced in Scotland, probably by the end of 2017.  The Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016 creates a new form Scottish tenancy agreement: the Scottish Private Residential Tenancy (SPRT).   The Act has been passed by the Scottish Parliament and is expected to come into force at the end of 2017.

Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act

Key features of The Act include:

  • improved security of tenure for tenants, including (some) students
  • powers for local authorities to impose rent caps in designated areas
  • simplified procedures for starting and ending a tenancy
  • a model tenancy agreement containing compulsory and other common clauses.

When The Act comes into force, existing tenancy agreements will continue to run without any change. Landlords and tenants could agree to convert to a private residential tenancy but, at this point, there won’t be a legal requirement to do so.  New tenancy agreements would be SPRTs.

Scottish Tenancy Agreements – SPRT

The process of entering into and ending a SPRT will be more straightforward.  Some of the key points of this new form of tenancy agreement include:

  • no pre-tenancy notices and no minimum period of let
  • tenancies will only terminate if tenant chooses to terminate or landlord uses one of the prescribed grounds for repossession
  • the ‘no fault’ grounds for repossession are no longer available
  • only one notice to leave will be needed to end a tenancy
  • a tenant can end the agreement by giving 4 weeks’ notice, regardless of length of let set out in the SPRT
  • landlords will be required to give either 4 weeks’ notice for tenancies of less than 6 months or where:
    • tenant is not living in the property
    • 3 months rent arreers or in breach of tenancy agreement
    • antisocial behaviour or criminal behaviour by tenant or someone living in the property.
  • landlords will be require to give 12 weeks’ notice for tenancies lasting more than 6 months (not withstanding the exceptions above)
  • Landlords can review rent once a year and must give tenants at least 3 months’ notice of any rent increase.  Tenants can challenge a proposed rent increase via a rent officer.
  • Local councils will be able to apply to impose rent caps by applying to designate specified areas as ‘rent pressure zones’.

A new Scottish tenancy agreement template

The statutory model tenancy agreement has not been published yet.  It will contain a number of compulsory clauses such as:

  • providing receipts for rent paid in cash
  • notification of adults other than the tenant occupying the property
  • a prohibition on sub-letting without consent of the landlord
  • access for repairs.

As a landlord, you won’t have to use the model agreement if you don’t want to but any agreement you do use will have to comply with the requirements of the legislation.

At Clickdocs, we will review the model tenancy agreement once it is published and consider whether we will issue an enhanced version for our Scottish customers.  Either way, we’ll keep you posted and provide updates and information to help landlords make the change from Assured Tenancy to SPRT agreements in Scotland.