On 1st December 2017, it will cease to be possible to create a new assured or short assured tenancy (SAT).
Any new lets of residential property will be Private Residential Tenancies (PRTs) either by design or default.
Out has gone the old “no fault” ground for SATs and in has come recovery only in terms of very specific grounds for PRTs. The tenancy has no end date. The landlord is only entitled to evict the tenant with an order from the First-tier Tribunal and even then only if one (or more) of the grounds in schedule 3 of the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016 applies. These are listed below. Some are mandatory, some are discretionary and two are a mixture of both.
Notice to Leave
To begin that procedure, a Notice to Leave must be served by the landlord. This gives the tenant either 28 or 84 days’ notice that the landlord can apply to the First-tier Tribunal for an eviction order. The period of time that will be applicable depends on the individual circumstances that apply. It does not bring the tenancy to an end. In broad terms, 28 days will be applicable if the tenancy has been in place for less than six months or if certain grounds for eviction apply such as rent arrears for three consecutive months. Otherwise, it will be 84 days.
The tenant can also serve a Notice to Leave, but can do so at any time on a minimum of 28 days’ notice and then simply leave.
It might be suggested that this weights things very much in favour of the tenant and it would be difficult to argue with that. Unless a schedule 3 ground could be used (none of which are without challenges for landlords), the tenancy could continue indefinitely.
Particular care should be taken in relation to calculating the time periods which are applicable as there are many different permutations which could apply, and making a mistake with any of them could render a Notice to Leave invalid.
Grounds for Eviction
1. Landlord intends to sell (Mandatory)
2. Lender intends to sell (M)
3. Landlord refurbishment (M)
4. Required for landlord to live in (for more than three months) (M)
5. Required for member of Landlord’s family to live in (for more than three months) (Discretionary)
6. Non-residential use (M)
7. Religious use (M)
8. Not an employee (M/D)
9. Supported Accommodation (M)
10. Tenant not occupying as only or principal home (M)
11. Breach of tenancy agreement (except rent) (D)
12. Rent arrears – three consecutive months (M/D)
13. Criminal behaviour (M)
14. Anti-social behaviour (D)
15. Associating with a person who has a relevant conviction or behaves anti-socially (D)
16. Landlord not registered (D)
17. HMO revocation (D)
18. Overcrowding notice (D)
The mandatory grounds need evidence, and the discretionary grounds must pass a test of reasonableness.
These remain as they are although eviction applications are now made to the First-tier Tribunal.
It would appear that PRTs will create a more tenant friendly regime than the Short Assured Tenancy, but time and First-tier Tribunal decisions will give everyone a clearer view.
This blog comments on parts of the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016. We would be pleased to provide advice on specific circumstances.