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Changes to Scottish private tenancies and eviction procedures

29th November 2017

The Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016 comes into force on 1 December 2017. It makes a large number of important changes to the law and procedure. The Act creates a new form of tenancy in Scotland, the Private Residential Tenancy (PRT). Very broadly the PRT will give greater protections to tenants and, for example, makes it more difficult for landlords to bring tenancies to an end. No new Assured or Short Assured Tenancies (SAT) can now be created, although existing ones will continue. An option to convert SATs to PRTs has however been created.

One significant change for landlords means that it will not be possible to end a tenancy purely because the contractual tenancy period has come to an end. In fact, no minimum period for a tenancy under the PRT provisions is prescribed in the Act.

From the viewpoint of lenders and their servicers who have obtained a decree for eviction against their customer but where there is a tenant in the property, the PRT eviction grounds include that the let property is subject to a mortgage; that the creditor is entitled to sell the property, and that the creditor requires the tenant to leave to enable it to dispose of the property and sell with vacant possession.

Another significant change is that the sheriff court will no longer deal with tenant eviction cases. Until now these have been heard as summary cause actions under a fairly simple procedure. The First-Tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber) was set up in 2016, initially to deal with issues concerning rent and repairs. The Housing and Property Chamber will now take over the sheriff court’s function in dealing with, among other things, eviction actions and rent arrears claims whether under SATs or under the new tenancies.There will be no fee payable to make an application to this Tribunal.

The Tribunal is based in Glasgow but hearings will take place at locations throughout the country. Time will tell whether by removing these cases from the sheriff court and transferring them to the Housing and Property Chamber a more efficient system will be created.

For more information about Scottish Private Tenancies and Eviction Procedures or any similar matter please contact David Forrester and he will be delighted to help.

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