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Private residential tenancies (PRTs) - Facts you need to know

29th May 2018

Private residential tenancies (PRTs) have now been brought into force by the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016 (“the Act”).

Any new tenancy started from  1st December 2017 will now be a PRT, as long as the property is let to the tenant as a separate dwelling, which they live in as their main home. There are a few exceptions to this listed in Schedule 1 of the Act, including situations where the Landlord is a Council or University. The two previous types of residential tenancies were the ‘short assured tenancy’ and the ‘assured tenancy’ and any existing lease in one of these forms will continue on the same basis until either the Landlord or the Tenant brings it to an end.

PRTs have a structure which is intended to benefit both tenants and landlords. The tenancy is open-ended, which means it will continue as long as neither the tenant nor landlord bring it to an end. This increases security for tenants. As long as the tenant has stayed in the property for at least 6 months, they will be entitled to 84 days notice to leave, provided they have not breached the terms of the lease. If the tenant wishes to leave they must give 28 days’ notice. The tenant will also benefit from 3 months’ notice of a rent increase, which can only be done once per year, using a ‘Landlord’s rent-increase notice to tenants.’

From a landlord’s perspective, setting up and ending a tenancy has been simplified. Most of the forms associated with the previous types of tenancy have been dispensed with, including the pre-tenancy AT5 Notice. The tenant must be provided with a written copy of their terms, along with either ‘Easy-read notes for the Scottish Government model tenancy agreement’ or the ‘Private Residential Tenancy Statutory Terms Supporting Notes’ by the day the tenancy starts.  If the tenancy is not new, but merely changing from another type of tenancy, these documents must be provided within 28 days of the change. Similarly any changes in terms must be detailed to the tenant in writing within 28 days of the change. The landlord is still required to lodge any deposit taken with a third party tenancy deposit scheme, which will protect the deposit until it is due to be repaid.

There are 18 distinct grounds for ending a PRT, all by serving a single Notice to leave:

  1. Landlord intends to sell the let property (within 3 months of the tenant moving out)
  2. Let property to be sold by (mortgage) lender
  3. Landlord intends to refurbish the let property
  4. Landlord intends to live in let property
  5. Landlord intends to use the let property for non-residential purpose (evidence of this could include planning permission).
  6. Let property required for religious worker
  7. Tenant has a relevant criminal conviction (for either using, or letting someone else use, the property for illegal purposes, or perpetrating a crime in or near to the property).
  8. Tenant is no longer occupying the let property (as their main or only home)

Even if the Tribunal agrees one of the following 8 grounds is valid, it still has to decide whether it will issue an eviction order:

  1. Landlord’s family member intends to live in the let property (for at least 3 months)
  2. Tenant no longer needs supported accommodation (where they moved in for assessed community care)
  3. Tenant has breached a term of the tenancy agreement
  4. The tenant has engaged in relevant antisocial behaviour (by either causing another person alarm, distress, nuisance, annoyance, or harassment).
  5. Tenant has associated in the let property with someone who has a criminal conviction or is antisocial
  6. Landlord has had their registration refused or revoked
  7. Landlord’s HMO licence has been revoked
  8. An overcrowding statutory notice has been served on the landlord
  9. Tenant is in rent arrears over three consecutive months
  10. Tenant has stopped being — or has failed to become — an employee (where this was the reason for the tenancy).

If you would like help with any aspect of a tenancy, either new or existing, please get in touch with our Property teams at Morisons, by calling 0141 332 5666 or 0131 226 6541.


*The content of this webpage is for information only and is not intended to be construed as legal advice.

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