The Scottish Government plan tenancy law reform for the system for Scottish tenants and landlords, which they claim will be “simplified and improved”. Further consultations on private rented sector reform have been launched.
Housing Minister Margaret Burgess told current affairs magazine, Holyrood:
“Plans to reform private sector tenancy laws will remove the fear of eviction and help tenants to assert their rights”.
A Consultation process launched by the Scottish Government will seek views on “a major overhaul of legislation in the private rented sector”.
The Minister has indicated that the current “no-fault” repossession clause in the Scottish Housing Act legislation, which allows landlords to evict and reclaim their property when the fixed rental term has ended, will be abandoned.
Speaking to the Holyrood Magazine, Burguess said:
“These changes to existing tenancy laws are designed to improve security for tenants and provide safeguards for landlords, investors and lenders.
“Our vision is for a private rented sector that provides good quality homes and high management standards, inspires consumer confidence, and encourages growth through attracting increased investment.
“By creating a new and simplified system we will have better property management, while tenants and landlords will be provided with more clarity and a better understanding of what the tenancy agreement means for them.”
Landlords will also be given eleven updated and modernised legal grounds for use if they wish to regain possession of their property legally, including if they wish to sell.
Rent rises will be controlled to protect tenants against rent hikes, so tenants will be able to take unjustified rent rises to arbitration. Specific controls may also be introduced to prevent “excessive” increases in property “hot-spots” such as Aberdeen, Edinburgh and the Lothians.
This new consultation will add to an earlier one last year, which had over 2,500 responses and will result in final proposals to be included in a Bill to be laid before parliament autumn 2015.
“Tenants will have more security and can no longer be asked to leave their home simply because their tenancy agreement has reached its end date.
“They can assert their rights without fear of eviction.
“Increasing the supply of homes is the sustainable, long-term solution to addressing housing affordability.
“That is why we are investing over £1.7 billion to deliver our target of 30,000 affordable homes during the lifetime of this parliament.”
Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, told the Holyrood Magazine:
“The charity wants to see a private rented sector in Scotland that is fit for families and protects all tenants and which provides long-term homes, not short-term housing.
“It’s time to make renting right
“We welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment to increase security of tenure for private tenants.
“The short-term tenancy agreements currently commonplace in the private rented sector do not provide the stability and security that the more than 80,000 families with children living in the private rented sector need in order to live a settled life.
“It’s time to make renting right. We need a private rented sector that is modern, stable, flexible, predictable and fair for those individuals and families that call it home.
“The benefits of reform would not just be felt by tenants, however. Landlords too would see a more constant and predictable income with less downtime between rents and a more stable relationship with their tenants.”
Scotland Tenancy Law Reform in Progress – http://t.co/EsifItN1FQ
— LandlordZONE (@LandlordZONE) March 31, 2015