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Private Residential Tenancies

Updated: Feb 16

If you’re a private landlord, you’ll be aware that at present, most private tenancies in Scotland are either short assured or assured tenancies.

However, under the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016, as of 1st December 2017, all new private tenancies will follow the new Private Residential Tenancy (PRT) model. On 25th October 2017, the Scottish Government published its recommended Model Tenancy Agreement (MTA) for landlords to use when offering a PRT. The MTA can be found here.

What will be in it?

There are two types of clause within the Model Tenancy Agreement:

  • Mandatory clauses These are in bold typeface and must appear in all PRTs where the Scottish Government’s model tenancy agreement template is used.

  • Discretionary clauses These are in normal typeface and can be removed from the template or altered at the option of the landlord.

There is also space in the template for additional clauses, which can be included as long as they don’t contradict any of the mandatory clauses.

Must I use the MTA?

The landlord doesn’t have to use the MTA (although it is designed to make life easier for them). However, even if the landlord chooses to use an agreement of their own design, it has to include certain statutory clauses as laid down in the regulations.

These can be read online here.

What else must I do?

When a tenant is offered a PRT, the landlord must issue them with guidance notes.

These come in two versions:

1. If the landlord has chosen to use the Scottish Government’s MTA, they have to give their tenant the ‘Easy Read Notes for the Scottish Government Model Private Residential Tenancy Agreement’. These are basically explanatory commentary on the mandatory terms and any discretionary terms that the landlord has chosen to use.

2. If the landlord decides not to use the model lease, they should give the tenant the ‘Private Residential Tenancy Statutory Terms Supporting Notes’. These are shorter and only cover the terms that the law requires the landlord to use in the PRT lease.

What effect will the new regulations have?

The new regulations will mean that tenancies will be more secure. PRTs won’t have an end date and can only be ended by written notice from the tenant to the landlord or by the landlord using one of the 18 grounds for eviction. These are listed in the MTA and can also be found here.

The intent of the new MTA is to standardise private tenancies, meaning that eventually all PRTs will operate along the same lines.

When will it happen?

Even though 1st December is the date on which the PRT Model is being introduced, it won’t apply to everyone straight away. If the existing tenancy is short assured or assured, it will carry on until either the tenant or the landlord brings it to an end by serving notice to quit the let property.

What will happen if a landlord breaches the regulations?

After 1st December, if a tenancy agreement doesn’t include the statutory terms, the tenant could make a complaint to the 1st Tier Tribunal, which has the power to draw up a document that does comply with the regulations. The tribunal can also order the landlord to pay the tenant a sum not more than three months’ rent.

If you have any concerns about the new tenancy, please don’t hesitate to contact our legal experts who will be only too pleased to help you.

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