ARLA responds to Scottish Government's proposals on new private residential tenancy

Monday 09 January 2017

ARLA has responded to the Scottish Government’s consultation on the proposals for regulations and policy supporting the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016.

In our response we argue that the forms and information is too complex and many tenants, landlords and letting agents will struggle with the content and even the explanation notes for some are difficult to understand.

The purpose of the Act was to make the understanding of the rental process easy for all. However, ARLA thinks that referring to large parts of the Act will not empower tenants, landlords and letting agents to know what to do. For instance, the ‘Landlord’s application form to a rent officer to apply for property improvement costs in a rent pressure zone’ refers to rent pressure zones, but it does not say how people can find out if a property is in a rent pressure zone.

The Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016 (the 2016 Act) was passed by the Scottish Parliament on 17 March 2016 and received Royal Assent on 22 April 2016. It creates the new private residential tenancy that will replace current assured and short assured tenancies. The Scottish Government believe that the new tenancy will improve security for tenants whilst balancing with appropriate safeguards for landlords, lenders and investors. 

The key features of the new tenancy include:

  • 18 comprehensive and robust repossession grounds.
  • Rent can only be reviewed once in a 12-month period (with 3 months’ advance notice).
  • Tenants will be able to refer perceived unreasonable rent increases to a rent officer for a determination on whether the increase takes their rent beyond the market rate for other comparable properties.
  • A simplified eviction notice
  • Ministers can designate an area as a rent pressure zone to cap the levels of rent increases for sitting tenants after a request from a local authority. 

When Act was passed in March, ARLA Managing Director, David Cox said whilst we welcome the concept of tenancy reform in Scotland, the legislation had gone too far. Furthermore, he said that scrapping the ‘No Fault’ possession of Section 33, watering down the mandatory grounds for possession, removing initial terms and implementing rent control through ‘Rent Pressure Zones’ will damage Scotland’s private rented sector.     

>> READ ARLA’s RESPONSE IN FULL <<

The Act is expected to come into force in late 2017.