How are the SNP reforming the Private Rented Sector?
In the last parliament we passed the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act to provide security and stability for tenants in the private rented sector, as well as providing appropriate safeguards for landlords, lenders and investors.
The legislation removes the ‘no-fault’ ground for repossession, which means a landlord can no longer ask a tenant to leave simply because the fixed-term has ended. Landlords will only be able to increase rents once in any twelve month period and they must give tenants 12 weeks’ notice of any changes to rent. The SNP are also addressing the problem of excessive rent rises for sitting tenants by giving Local Authorities in rent pressure areas the ability to apply to Ministers to set a cap on rent increases for sitting tenants.
We have also introduced a new Private Residential Tenancy (PRT) which has no end date and can only be terminated by a tenant giving written notice to their landlord or by the landlord using one of 18 grounds for eviction. Tenants will have the right to challenge a wrongful termination. Additionally, landlords can only increase rent once a year and are required to give tenants three months’ written notice of any rise. Tenants can challenge this rise if they think it is unfair.
In this parliament, we will take further action to drive out rogue landlords who exploit tenants in sub-standard accommodation. After holding a consultation on a national standard for private rented homes to ensure a good basic standard of accommodation, we intend to lay draft regulations to this end in Parliament in 2018.
We will encourage councils to use the landlord registration system as way of providing information to landlords on their responsibilities and as a means of ensuring that legislation is being adhered to and action is being taken if it is not. We will also encourage tenants to know their rights under current legislation on housing standards, repairing standards and the new tenancies legislation.