Consultation launched in Scotland on tenancy reform

Taylor Scott International News

The Scottish Government has launched its consultation on tenancy reform, the first major overhaul of tenancy legislation in the private rented sector for 25 years. The New Tenancy for the Private Sector consultation aims to give tenants a greater sense of security, and provides appropriate safeguards for landlords, lenders and investors. Through the proposals landlords must offer a minimum tenancy of six months and the Notice to Quit will be linked to how long the tenant has lived in the property. It is part of the Scottish Government’s commitment to reform the private rented sector tenancy by enabling more effective regulation, applying tougher enforcement and attracting new investment. The document will consult on proposals to modernise the reasons a landlord can use to get back possession of their property; to enable tenants to stay in their home at the end of their lease unless one of the new reasons above occur; and introduce longer notice periods for landlords and tenants. It will also explore issues relating to rent levels. ‘If tenants have more security in their tenure, they may feel more confident in asserting their rights and flagging any concerns about their rented property without fear of eviction. In addition to this if tenants know they can only be asked to leave their home on certain specified grounds they will have a greater feeling of security,’ said Housing Minister Margaret Burgess. ‘But equally a new tenancy system provides an opportunity to improve the private rented sector for landlords. We can tackle some of the long standing issues they face, like problems around recovering the possession of their property and rent arrears. These changes could give landlords more reassurance in the system,’ she explained. ‘Housing is a priority for this Government which is why we are consulting on these proposals to make sure our private rented sector is a strong as it can be. Our vision is for Scotland’s private rented sector to be an attractive and affordable housing option for anyone who wishes to live in it,’ she pointed out. ‘Reforming the tenancy system is an important part of achieving this vision. By creating a new and simplified system we will have better property management, while tenants and landlords will be provided with more clarity and understanding of what the tenancy agreement means for them,’ she added. However the National Landlords Association (NLA) is questioning the viability of some of the proposals. The NLA is concerned that if implemented as proposed, there is a significant risk of undermining the private rented sector, and of exacerbating the housing crisis Scotland is currently facing. As the proposals will affect all landlords, letting agents and tenants in Scotland the NLA urges all involved to submit their views to the Scottish Government. ‘The consultation raises some interesting ideas for reform, but the Scottish Government seems to be considering worrying changes that would only undermine the private rented sector at a time when its role in housing provision has never been more important,’ said Richard Lambert, NLA… Continue reading →

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