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A new era for private residential landlords and letting agents

28 February 2018 Property & Estate Agency Julie Hecht

A new Scottish private residential tenancy (SPRT) regime came into force at the end of last year bringing in changes to the private rented sector, impacting landlords, letting agents and affecting the rights of Scotland’s 760,000 private renters.

There are a number of requirements for a SPRT:

  • the property must be let to an individual as a separate dwelling (home)
  • the property must be the tenant’s only or main home
  • you must be an individual (i.e. not a company)
  • the tenancy must not belong to a category which is specifically excluded under Schedule 1 of the 2016 Act (such as holiday lets or social housing)
  • you must have a lease (although a written agreement is not necessarily needed for a lease to exist)
  • the tenancy started on or after 1 December 2017

The new regime introduces significant changes to the way tenancy agreements are created, managed and terminated. Some of the key changes include:

  • Letting agents must now register and adhere to a code of practice.

No more fixed terms – private residential tenancies will be open-ended, meaning landlords can’t ask tenants to leave just because they’ve been in the property for 6 months (The previous short assured tenancies meant that landlords could terminate the tenancy without giving any reason at the end of the initial period of the lease).

  • Rent increases – rent can only be increased once every 12 months (with 3 months notice period)
  • Longer notice period – if you’ve lived in a property for longer than 6 months your landlord will have to give you at least 84 days’ notice to leave (unless of course you’re at fault)
  • Simpler notices – the notice to quit process has been scrapped and replaced by a simpler notice to leave process.

The Scottish Private Residential Tenancy is the biggest change to the private rental sector in the past 25 years and will have benefits for both landlords and tenants.

If you are buying an investment or residential letting property, then speak to us to see how the changes may affect you.

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