Despite curfews and closures, 2020 was a busy year for licensing lawyers due to the ever changing nature of restrictions introduced to combat the Coronavirus pandemic. In February 2021, the Scottish Government withdrew the Licensing Order in relation to short-term lets from the Scottish Parliament to allow guidance to be drafted. That has now been published and the revised Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 (Licensing of Short-term Lets) Order 2021 (‘Licensing Order’) has been open to consultation throughout the summer. The consultation period closed on
The Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 (“the 2020 Act”) contains emergency powers relating to coronavirus and health protection in Scotland. In exercising these powers the Scottish Government have introduced rules which have afforded additional protections to tenants by increasing the notice periods required before eviction action can start and banning the enforcement of eviction orders in certain circumstances.
Eviction ban update
Since December 2020, the enforcement of eviction orders has been prohibited unless the order is based on the tenant’s antisocial behaviour or criminal activity. The
The practice of serving Notices to Quit by sheriff officers has recently been considered by the Upper Tribunal (UT). In a decision which will be of interest to private landlords and letting agents in Scotland the UT held it is competent for a sheriff officer to serve a notice to quit.
In 2019, Mr Henderson raised eviction proceedings in the First-tier Tribunal (FTT). The action was based on rent arrears. An Eviction Order was granted by the FTT in October 2019. The tenant sought to
Short Terms Lets and Airbnb have become a contentious matter in Scotland in recent times. The Scottish Government have recently conducted research into Airbnbs and Short-Term Lets in Scotland which confirmed there are 31,884 active Airbnb listings, three times as many compared to 2016.
It was found that in Edinburgh’s City Centre 16.7% of properties are being used as Short Term Lets equating to an estimated 140,000 visitors to the area per year, around 4.5 times the local resident population.
The increasing popularity of Airbnbs
The Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 (Eviction from Dwelling-houses) (Notice Periods) Modification Regulations 2020 are expected to come into force 3 October 2020.
We previously blogged about the extension of notice periods introduced by the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020. The link can be found here.
The purpose of these new Regulations is to reduce the extended notice periods for eviction grounds relating to antisocial behaviour and criminal convictions to 28 days in both the private and social rented sector.
New proposed notice periods for:
On 26 May 2020 the Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Act was given Royal Assent.
In our previous blog we discussed the emergency and temporary legislative changes to residential tenancy law made by the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
This new Act seeks to implement further emergency measures.
What does the Act do?
- Introduces pre-action requirements
- Early termination of student tenancies
- Creates a new Council Tax exemption
Pre-action requirements in the Private Rented Sector
The Act introduces the concept of pre-action requirements
The Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 has now come into force. This Act proposes significant temporary changes to residential tenancy law in the private and social rented sectors.
What are the changes?
Private Residential Tenancies
- Increased Notice Periods
The Act increases the notice period for the Private Residential Tenancy. The current notice period is either 28 or 84 days depending on either the duration of the tenant’s occupation or the ground relied upon.
The Act extends the notice period to 6 months for all grounds
We are aware of increasing instances where tenants, in particular student tenants, are giving Notice to Leave and returning home. On occasion, these tenants are leaving and have abandoned belongings in the property.
While the tenancy agreement will usually oblige tenants to remove their belongings on departure, difficulties arise where the tenancy agreement omits to contract for what will happen with belongings once the tenancy has come to an end.
What is a landlord to do where there is no contractual provision for abandoned belongings
Since 25 May 2015 it has been possible to raise an action challenging the existence of a lease in the Sheriff Court by way of an action for reduction.
In the recent case of SW v Chesnutt Skeoch Limited the Upper Tribunal considered whether the First-tier Tribunal (Housing and Property Chamber) had jurisdiction to consider reduction of an assured tenancy.
The case concerned an application for payment of rent arrears and losses following termination of an assured tenancy. The tenant initially argued that the tenancy
The Scottish Government has published a parliamentary report in connection with the forthcoming Energy Efficiency (Domestic Private Rented Property) (Scotland) Regulations 2019.
Our earlier blog stated that the Regulations were proposed to come into force on 1 April 2020. However the report confirms this will be postponed until 1 October 2020.
What are the new key dates?
From 1 October 2020 any new tenancies will require to have a minimum EPC rating of E.
On 31 March 2022 this requirement will extend to existing
Following on from our blog on Monday regarding the Coronavirus and its impact on the private rented sector, it is abundantly clear that the pandemic is causing unprecedented worry to both landlords, letting agents and tenants.
There appears to be a lot of speculation and panic about what the government will do to help tenants. We will continue to blog and provide informed updates at this difficult time with a view to putting an end to some of the worrisome speculation.
Below is a short
Each day our news feed is filled with updates and reports regarding the spread of the coronavirus. Guidance from the UK Government is to stay at home for 7 days if you have a high temperature and a new continuous cough.
What can landlords and letting agents do if tenants are self-isolating?
The key here is to ensure you open effective lines of communication. Landlords and agents should ccommunicate with tenants to let them know what they can expect from their landlords/letting agents
The First-tier Tribunal recently considered the date to be stated in a notice to leave on or after which the landlord can expect to make an application to the Tribunal for eviction.
By way of background, where a landlord wishes to recover possession of a Private Residential Tenancy, the landlord must serve a notice to leave. The legislation sets out various requirements for the notice to leave. One of the requirements is that the notice to leave states a date on or after which the
Airbnbs and Short-Terms Lets have become a contentious matter in Scotland in recent times. The Scottish Government have recently conducted research into Airbnbs and Short-Term Lets in Scotland which confirmed there are 31,884 active Airbnb listings, three times as many compared to 2016.
It was found that in Edinburgh's City Centre 16.7% of properties are being used as Short Term Lets equating to an estimated 140,000 visitors to the area per year, around 4.5 times the local resident population.
The increasing popularity of Airbnbs and
The recent First-tier Tribunal (Housing and Property Chamber) decision of Ritchie v Finlayson highlights the importance of providing sufficient evidence when making a claim against tenants for damage to the let property and contents.
When a tenant vacates a property there may be times when the property is not left in the same condition as it was at commencement of the tenancy. This could be a result of wear and tear or it could be as a result of failure on the part of the
The Private Residential Tenancy regime provides that 'it is an eviction ground that the tenant has been in rent arrears for three or more consecutive months' (Ground 12 of Schedule 3 of the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016).
There appears to have been a perception that a landlord could serve a Notice to Leave relying on this ground as soon as a tenant entered into arrears. The landlord would then delay raising proceedings until such time as three consecutive months of arrears had accrued.
It's rarely in the best interests of a landlord/tenant relationship to have to move a disagreement over deposits to court proceedings. In some instances though, it is an inevitable result of a landlord not adhering to the Tenancy Deposit Schemes (Scotland) Regulations 2011. Between December 2017 and June 2019, there were over 200 cases where the tenancy deposit regulations had been breached and an award was granted against the landlord by the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland Housing and Property Chamber (FTT).
The regulations state
The Energy Efficiency (Domestic Private Rented Property) (Scotland) Regulations 2019 are proposed to come into force on 1 April 2020.
The purpose of these regulations is to tackle the the least energy-efficient properties in Scotland.
These regulations outline minimum standards of energy efficiency landlords must meet for domestic private rented properties. EPCs (Energy Performance Certificates) are used to measure this standard.
The regulations provide that a landlord is not permitted to let a domestic property if the energy performance indicator for the property is below
Since 2012, landlords in Scotland have been required to lodge security deposits in one of three approved tenancy deposit schemes. Landlords should by now be well aware of their obligations to lodge deposits within 30 working days and to provide tenants with specific information relating to the tenancy and the deposit. The scheme is regulated by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (Scotland) Regulations 2011.
On 11 November 2019 the Tenancy Deposit Schemes (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2019 made a number of changes to the 2011 provisions. Perhaps,
On 16 September 2019, The Private Landlord Registration (Information) (Scotland) Regulations 2019 came into effect, introducing a more comprehensive, rigorous application process in order to raise general awareness amongst landlords of their legal requirements and to provide better assurance to private rented sector tenants of landlord competence and compliance. In short, the regulations have changed the landlord registration process with the aim to improve standards within the private rented sector in order that homes rented to tenants are of good quality and are being
Holiday lettings sit outwith the standard regulatory framework of the private rented sector. A holiday let is excluded from constituting a Private Residential Tenancy. So when is a 'holiday let' not a 'holiday let'?
There is no requirement for such landlords to register or pay over a deposit to a Tenancy Deposit Scheme. Furthermore, the Repairing Standard does not apply to holiday lets of less than 31 days.
The Scottish Courts considered holiday lets in the case of St. Andrews Forest Lodges Ltd. v Jeremy
The Gas Safety (Installation and Use)(Amendment) Regulation 2018 came in to force on 6 April 2018. A year on, it is worth reminding landlords of its terms. This amendment addressed the often unnecessary and unintended financial burden of over-compliance with the 12 month gas safety check.
Instead of having to begin the process early, in anticipation of access problems, landlords were given more flexibility in meeting the requirements of the legislation. An MOT style system was introduced which allowed landlords to carry out their
It is all change right now in the world of repairs for private landlords in Scotland.
We recently saw new Gas Safety Regulations come into force on 6 April 2018 and more changes have been implemented with the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 (Modification of the Repairing Standard) Regulations 2019. Please find below a summary of the changes that came in to force on 1 March 2019.
At first glance, the changes to the repairing standard seem to look like a loosening of the requirements, particularly
The Scottish Government has recently published updated versions of the model Private Residential Tenancy Agreement, Easy Read Notes, and Statutory Terms Supporting Notes. This update takes account of changes to data protection laws, as well as other minor edits and clarifications.
The new versions should be used going forward.
You can access the updated information at the Scottish Government's website links below.
Model Tenancy Agreement:
Easy Read Notes:
Statutory Terms Supporting Notes:
The downloadable output of the Scottish Government's model tenancy agreement
Previously, we blogged on the problems with service of actions raised at the First-tier Tribunal - Housing and Property Chamber (FTT-HPC) where the address of the tenant was unknown.
Proposals to amend the FTT-HPC procedural rules to correct this problem and revise the procedural rules more generally were laid before Parliament in December 2018. The amending provisions are contained within the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland Housing and Property Chamber (Procedure) Amendment Regulations 2018 and The First-tier Tribunal for Scotland Housing and Property Chamber (Incidental Provisions)
There is now an impending deadline fast approaching at breakneck speed on the 1st October 2018. Yes, that's correct. As the turn of the month falls before us and as we enter the autumnal season, if you are conducting letting agency work in Scotland and have not applied to join the Register of Letting Agents through Registers of Scotland then please be forewarned as all individuals involved in letting agency work must comply with the Letting Agent Code of Practice as well as having
The First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber) (FTT) "recently considered the duration of a short assured tenancy in the case of Prestel & Dunbar v Norton (EV/18/1089)."
In this case parties entered into a tenancy agreement on 21st July 2017. An AT5 was served on the same date, before the tenancy agreement was signed. On 17th November 2017, the landlord served on the tenants a Notice to Quit and a Notice under Section 33(1)(d) of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1988,
One of the main facets of the new Private Residential Tenancy (PRT) is that it offers increased security of tenure to tenants. An order for eviction will only be granted where a landlord can satisfy the First-tier Tribunal (Housing and Property Chamber) that one of the 18 grounds for eviction is established. The Tribunal needs to be persuaded, with evidence, that the landlord is entitled to end the tenancy.
How do private landlords prove that they have a ground for eviction?
It essentially depends on
On 1st December 2017 jurisdiction for private sector tenancy related disputes transferred to the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland Housing and Property Chamber. The Tribunal is allocating up to two cases to be heard each day. Tribunal members have sufficient time and expertise to scrutinise the content of rent statements. Accordingly, it is now more important than ever to ensure rent statements are accurate.
If you are relying on rent arrears as a basis for eviction, or you wish to lodge an application for payment
We previously blogged about what options are available to landlords where one joint tenant wants to leave a rented property and the other(s) wish to remain. That blog related to assured and short assured tenancies under the Housing (Scotland) Act 1988. So what happens when a Joint Tenant wants to leave a Private Residential Tenancy?
Landlords will be aware that under the Private Housing (Tenancies)(Scotland) Act 2016, all new tenancies created after 1st December 2017 will be Private Residential Tenancies (PRTs). The position regarding
Under the General Data Protection Regulation (2016/679), a Data Controller is under a strict obligation to report a GDPR breach to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) in the event that it meets certain requirements.
Time frame for reporting
You must report a personal data breach, under Article 33, without undue delay and not later than 72 hours after becoming aware of the breach. However, what does becoming aware mean? The Article 29 Working Party Guidance considers awareness being at the point where you have
Many organisations are currently preparing themselves for the General Data Protection Regulation. For many their initial focus for the forthcoming changes (May 2018) may be on their 'day to day business', but it is also important that their 'day to day business' includes their HR procedures. Consideration needs to be given to ensure their current procedures comply with the new Data Protection Regulations.
As before, organisations still have a right to obtain and hold personal data providing they adhere to the six data protection
The Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016 came into force on 1st December 2017. It introduced the new Private Residential Tenancy which replaced Assured and Short Assured Tenancies in Scotland from that date. Existing Assured and Short Assured tenancies will continue unaffected.
The new Private Residential Tenancy (PRT) offers significant security of tenure to tenants. The no-fault eviction basis available under the Short Assured Tenancy regime will not apply. PRTs will not have an end date and cannot be terminated at the landlord's instigation
There is currently no formal abandonment procedure for the Private Rented Sector under the Housing (Scotland) Act 1988 (1988 Act).
Despite the property appearing abandoned, generally private landlords have no legal right to recover the property in absence of a court order.
The Private Rented Tenancies (Scotland) Act 2016 (2016 Act) introduced a new type of tenancy called the Private Residential Tenancy (PRT). One of the benefits of the new tenancy is that abandonment by the tenant is a basis upon which the landlord can
Since 2012, landlords in Scotland have been required to lodge security deposits in one of three approved tenancy deposit schemes. Landlords should by now be well aware of their obligations to lodge deposits within 30 working days and to provide tenants with specific information relating to the tenancy and the deposit. However, our LetLaw team regularly receive queries in relation to the amount of deposit which can legally be requested from tenants. Here are some of our most frequently asked questions about tenancy deposits Scotland.
The Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016 will introduce a new tenancy regime to Scotland called the Private Residential Tenancy (PRT). This new tenancy is anticipated to take effect sometime in December 2017.
What happens to assured and short assured tenancies when the PRT takes effect?
The 2016 Act provides that a tenancy cannot be an assured or short assured tenancy if it is granted after the effective date. This means that from that date all residential tenancies let to individuals will, by default, constitute
Our blog headed 'Letting Agent Registration' (Less than) A Year To Go!' discussed the forthcoming requirements for letting agent registration following the enactment of the Letting Agent Registration (Scotland) Regulations 2016.
Anticipated Scottish Government guidance on letting agent registration has since been published and can be found here.
The guidance provides information on:
- who needs to register
- what you need to do before you register
- what training and qualifications you must have in place before you make your application
- guidance on protecting client money
IMMIGRATION CHECKS DO NOT YET APPLY TO LANDLORDS IN SCOTLAND! We previously blogged about the UK Immigration bill which proposed duties on landlords to carry out immigration checks on prospective tenants - essentially checking if someone has the right to rent.
The bill became law on 1st December 2014 in connection with premises located in specific local authorities in England. On 1st February 2016, the scheme was rolled out to the whole of England.
The UK Government now intends to roll out this
Regular readers of our blog will be aware that the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 made provisions for the mandatory letting agent registration, regulation and training requirements in Scotland.
The Letting Agent Registration (Scotland) Regulations 2016 were laid before the Scottish Parliament in December 2016 and will come into force on 31st January 2018.
The Regulations require the most senior person in a letting agency business (unless they have no input into the letting agency's day-to-day running) and all persons directly concerned with managing and
Landlords should be aware that the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 introduced the requirement in Scotland for landlords to have an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) carried out on all electrical installations, fixtures and fittings within their rental properties. The requirement has been in place since 1st December 2015 for any new tenancies entered into but from 1st December 2016, all tenancies must have a valid EICR, a copy of which must be provided to the tenant.
The EICR lasts for 5 years and
In Scotland, prescription is the law that regulates the period in which parties can pursue claims. If I was raising a court action - how long have I got?
Most claims in law prescribe after five years, which means that a party wishing to make a claim after that five year period may be prohibited from successfully raising that claim.
There are certain other categories of claim to which specific periods apply, such as product liability, defamation and harassment.
The purpose of allowing this period
Earlier this month a Scottish letting agent pled guilty to an offence under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. What was perhaps surprising was that the 'offence' committed by the letting agents was the failure to lodge deposits with an approved tenancy deposit scheme on behalf one of their landlord clients.
In terms of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (Scotland) Regulations 2011, a landlord has a duty to pay any deposit received from a tenant into an approved tenancy deposit scheme within 30 working
Notwithstanding the recent Brexit vote, the European Convention on Human Rights (EHCR) remains part of our law at least for now. It's impact on the social rented sector has been clear since the decision of the Supreme Court in Manchester City Council v Pinnock  CSIH 78 (particularly Article 8: the right to respect to respect for private and family life). In short, in social rented eviction cases, the courts are required to balance the rights of the parties facing eviction and consider whether granting
Within the last few weeks, Scottish Ministers have advised stakeholders of their proposals for the training requirements for letting agents to go with the Code of Practice.
The training requirements will apply to the most senior person in a letting agency business (unless they have no input into the letting agency's day-to-day running) and all persons directly concerned with managing and supervising of a business letting agency work.
There must also be at least one person per office (where relevant letting agency work is carried
Most of the headlines for the Private Rented Sector (PRS) in Scotland have been grabbed by the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Bill, which was passed after the stage 3 debate this month and set to become an Act. However, before we get an entirely new tenancy regime for the PRS, the sector will have to grapple with mandatory letting agent registration and code of conduct.
Part 4 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 makes provision for the registration, regulation and training requirements for letting agents
The Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Bill was passed by the Scottish Parliament on 17th March 2016. The stated aim of the legislation is to create simpler tenancies, offer stability and security for private tenants and ensure predictability over rent increases. It also fundamentally changes the nature of the relationship between landlords and tenants from contractual to statutory. We will get a new tenancy type called a 'Private Rented Tenancy' which will replace the current Assured and Short Assured regime. The Scottish Government has yet
Part 4 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 makes provision for the registration, regulation and training requirements for letting agents in Scotland. The provisions include a mandatory register of letting agents with an associated 'fit and proper' person test, training requirements, a code of practice to which all letting agents must adhere and enforcement through the new First- Tier tribunal.
In February 2016, The Letting Agent Code of Practice (Scotland) Regulations 2016 were laid before the Scottish Parliament and are set to come into force
We are often asked by landlords about joint tenancies under an assured or short assured tenancy (if you have joint tenants under a Private Residential Tenancy, read this blog). Particularly where one joint tenant wishes to leave a rented property and gives proper written notice, but the other joint tenant wishes to stay. What happens when a joint tenant leaves a property?
Technically, a vacating tenant who gives proper written notice in advance of a contractual end date or Ish, cannot create a situation where
A New Year is a time for new ideas, and we are now looking for yours. As Scotland's only not-for-profit tenancy deposit scheme, we are in a unique position to give something back to the private rented sector and so we are delighted to announce the launch of the SafeDeposits Scotland Trust.
The Trust is a new grant-giving charity aimed at promoting education, training and best practice in Scotland's private rented sector, by funding projects which provide tangible benefits to landlords, letting agents and tenants
The Stage 1 report into the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Bill (the Bill) from the Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee has been published along with their recommendations. Evidence has been taken from various stakeholders in the Private Rented Sector (PRS) and the report and its recommendations were debated in the Scottish Parliament earlier this month. How will this affect student letting in Scotland?
The report can be downloaded here.
The Report makes some significant recommendations regarding Student Tenancies. The policy objective behind the Bill