The introduction of The Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016 came into force in January 2018.

This legislation introduced a new type of tenancy, 'The Private Residential Tenancy'.

The Private Residential Tenancy replaced the Short Assured Tenancy regime.

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.

Key changes:

  • no pre-tenancy notices and no minimum period of let
  • tenancies will only terminate if a 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 four weeks’ notice, regardless of length of let set out in the SPRT
  • landlords can review rent once a year and must give tenants at least three months’ notice of any rent increase. Tenants can challenge a proposed rent increase via a rent officer
  • councils will be able to apply to impose rent caps by applying to designate specified areas as ‘rent pressure zones’.

The Scottish Parliament has approved the Code of Practice for letting agents operating in Scotland. This sets out the standards of practice letting agents must meet, a requirement to hold client money protection and professional indemnity insurance and comes into force on 31 January 2018.

The Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 introduces a framework for the registration, regulation and training of letting agents in Scotland. This includes:

  • a mandatory register of letting agents with an associated ‘fit and proper’ person test
  • a training requirement that must be met to be admitted to the register
  • a statutory code of practice all letting agents must follow
  • a way for tenants and landlords to resolve complaints against letting agents for breaches of the statutory Code of Practice through a new specialist First-tier Tribunal
  • powers for Scottish Ministers to obtain information and to inspect to monitor compliance and enforce regulatory requirements.

The Letting Agent Code of Practice (Scotland Regulations) 2016) is due to come into force in January 2018. Work is underway so Lowther Homes meets the standards within the Code of Practice.