Webinar Coming Soon (November 2022)
Recently the Scottish Government had issued a rent freeze and no winter evictions effective from 6 September 2022. We now have more details to furnish you with, and have laid this out below with what we feel are the questions you will be seeking answers to. We will also be hosting an on line webinar next month to cover this topic and will have a panel of experts available to answer any questions you may have. Please look out for this invitation.
What is the bill referred to?
This Cost of Living and Tenant Protection Bill was introduced in the Scottish Parliament on 4th October 2022 and passed on 6th October 2022.
A copy of the Bill can be found using this link:
Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) Scotland Bill
How long is this likely to be in place?
It will remain in place until 31st March 2023. Provisions are in place to allow it to be extended on 2 further occasions until 31 March 2024 or to be brought to an end earlier during the initial 6 months or any extended period.
What are the key changes I need to know about?
There are several and these are noted below:
Rent Cap – what does this mean
- 0% rent cap applicable to all tenancies until 31 March 2023
- This includes any and all PRT and Short Assured tenancies
- It does not include company leases
- Applies to in-tenancy rent increases, but not new tenancies
- Therefore, we can still set any open market rents for relets and new to market
Rent notices issued BEFORE the 6th September
- If a notice was issued BEFORE the 6th September then it is valid and remains unchanged. Therefore once the 3 months notice is up and a rent increase is due to take effect we can still enforce it
- If a tenant has seen the revised Bill and asks the Rent Officer to review it, it will be reviewed as it would have been before the Bill, and set to open market rent levels
What if my notice of rent increase was issued AFTER the 6th Sept
- Rent increase notices given on or after 6 September 2022 have no effect
- A Rent Increase notice from this date it is not enforceable
- Therefore if issued after this date the tenant should be advised that they should not pay it
- If agreed and already paid it will require to be refunded
- Your Portfolio Manager will advise you if this affects you and will deal with any refunds
What happens if I am also facing financial hardship?
- Applications for increases can be made by landlords for prescribed and legitimate purposes (maximum 3%)
- If a landlord has severe financial hardship, and can provide evidence, you can request a rent increase to a maximum of 3% of the current rent
- If the tenant were to then ask for the Rent Officer to review it the financial hardship evidence would need to be presented
What now happens with evictions?
- A temporary ban on evictions except in specified scenarios
- Exceptions include:
- Intent to sell property in order to alleviate financial hardship
- Intent to live in property to alleviate financial hardship.
- Substantial arrears = 6 months rent
- Property to be sold by lender
- Tenant not occupying let property
- Criminal behaviour
- Anti-social behaviour
Are there changes to the grounds involved for evictions?
Private Residential Tenancies grounds
- Existing Schedule 3 Grounds unaffected
- Ground 2 (property to be sold by a lender)
- Ground 10 (tenant not occupying let property)
- Ground 13 (Criminal Behaviour)
- Ground 14 (Anti-social Behaviour)
- Ground 15 (association with a person who has a relevant conviction or who is engaged in relevant anti-social behaviour).
- New Grounds for Eviction
- Ground 1A (intent to sell the property to alleviate financial hardship)
- Ground 4A (intent to live in property to alleviate financial hardship)
- Ground 12A (substantial rent arrears)
Are notice periods affected?
- Rent arrears: The notice period for the new ground 12A will be 28 days
- This now means it will be 28 days from it being equivalent to 6 months of rent arrears
- There are updated pre-action requirements required for offering help to tenants and considering a payment plan that remains in place. We can manage this requirement for you
- Landlord selling or moving in due to financial hardship. As before it will depend on whether the tenant has occupied the property for 6 months or more and could therefore be 28 days or 84 days accordingly. The need for evidence remains key, and we will need a signed affidavit or similar from you to use as evidence to accompany a Notice to Leave