Private Residential Tenancy – what does this mean for tenants?

Private Residential Tenancy – what does this mean for tenants?

On 1st December 2017, the Scottish Government will launch a new type of tenancy called the Private Residential Tenancy (PRT). The purpose of this new tenancy scheme is to improve security for you as a tenant whilst also providing safeguards for the landlord. Existing tenancies will not be affected, but once your existing lease ends, the next lease you sign for in Scotland will be a PRT.

What is changing?

Your current lease is most likely to be a Short Assured Tenancy. This means your lease either has a fixed end date where you can move out on that date or you can renew that lease for another fixed term, or your lease is rolling and you have to give an agreed amount of notice to the landlord or letting agent (e.g. one or two months’ notice).

The new PRT is open-ended, giving you the freedom to choose when you want to move out of the property. At any point during your tenancy you can serve the landlord or letting agent with a ‘Notice to Leave’ 28 days before you wish to move out.

Whilst the decision is mainly in the tenants hands’, there are 18 grounds on which the landlord can serve the tenant with a ‘Notice to Leave.' A few examples of this include;

  1. The landlord decides to sell the property
  2. The landlord decides to refurbish the property which would cause serious disruption for any tenants living there
  3. The landlord decides to use the property for non-residential use
  4. The tenant has breached terms of the tenancy agreement

How will this affect me?

You will have more security. The landlord or letting agent cannot just decide they want you to leave the property. You will decide when you want the tenancy to end and you only need to give 28 days’ notice. Notice to Leave; this is a formal document requiring signing by all tenants occupying the property who signed the lease at the beginning.

You will be protected from unreasonable rent increases. In the new PRT scheme, the landlord cannot increase the rent more than once a year. The landlord or letting agent must also give you three months’ notice if they plan to increase the rent. You can negotiate and, if needs be, appeal the rent review notice. This gives you plenty of time to accept the increase or not and continue with the tenancy.

The landlord will give you more notice. Unlike the tenant who only has to give 28 days’ notice, the landlord must provide the tenant with 84 days’ notice to leave after the tenancy has continued for 6 months. The reason for the notice must also fall within one of the 18 grounds for eviction.

When will I end my tenancy?

Many of our tenants are students with tenancies on a fixed-term for one year and are given the opportunity of staying in the same property for the same term for the following year. This does mean however that students are liable for rent during the summer months when they will not be at university. With the new PRT scheme, you will have more flexibility. For example, if you and your flatmates want to move out on 1st June after you have finished university, you just need to serve your Notice to Leave on/to your landlord/letting agent 28 days before that date. However, the sooner you can let us know, the quicker we can re-market the property for the next group of tenants looking for a property.

If you decide to renew your tenancy, this will continue on a fixed term as a Short Assured Tenancy as the PRT will only come into effect if you have to sign a new lease.

At Cullen Property we actively encourage all of our tenants to read their lease fully including all terms and conditions. The new Model tenancy will be published by the Scottish Government on the 23rd October 2017 following which our website will have full details of the documentation in use after 1st December 2017 for all new tenancies. By signing your lease at our office on Rutland Square, you can discuss any questions with our team.

For further information on the PRT, view the Scottish Government’s tenant guide here.

If you have any questions regarding the PRT please contact us at enquiries@cullenproperty.com or call on us 0131 221 1818.

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