From 1st December 2017 in Scotland all new tenancies will be in the form of a Private Residential Tenancy (PRT). (All tenancies before that will still be Short Assured (SAT) so don’t worry about changing them over). I thought it would be good to make all landlords in the group aware of this, because going forward we are all going to need to follow the new PRT.
There are some big differences between the new PRT and the current Short Assured Tenancy (SAT). One of them is there is no fixed period in the tenancy. Before with SAT landlords would set the end date for a minimum of 6 months, with the PRT there is no fixed period. Within the SAT the natural way to bring a tenancy to an end via a Section 33 and Notice to Quit is now no longer applicable. A landlord cannot end the tenancy agreement this way within the PRT. Instead to bring a tenancy to an end they must serve Notice to Leave and that will be through using at least 1 of 18 grounds. 8 of these are Mandatory, 8 of these Discretionary and 2 of these Mandatory or Discretionary. Examples of the Mandatory Eviction Grounds are the landlord’s intention to sell within three months, refurbishment, intending to live in the property themselves etc. If the tenant refuses to leave the landlord can take their case for an Eviction Order to the Housing and Property Chamber First Tier Tribunal (FTT), which we are informed will be a much smoother and quicker process than the current process.
Another major change is notice periods. The tenants in the PRT can give landlords notice 28 days before the date the tenant wishes the tenancy to end. So, in theory with no fixed period a tenant could sign a lease and then hand in notice after one day and be out before the month is over. In my opinion landlords and agents will need to complete their referencing and due diligence more thoroughly than ever to ensure that they get the tenant they are looking for (in most cases medium to long term tenants). When landlords are serving Notice to Leave their notice periods will be 28 days if the tenancy has been less than 6 months or 84 days if the tenancy is more than six months.
In my opinion the new PRT is a good positive move for our industry, tenants will now have more security, stability and predictability and for landlords it promises a smoother process of eviction should they need to reclaim the property.
The Scottish Association of Landlords sum up the changes briefly in this short video below.
Finally, I will be writing to all Shanta Letting landlords in the next week with a more in-depth summary of what I have talked about above. If anyone would like to receive this email drop me a message and I will get it to you as well. Happy to discuss the new PRT with anyone out there reading this.