Private Residential Tenancy: Scotland’s Strict New Grounds for Eviction

On 1 December, Scottish landlords will no longer be able to sign a new Short Assured Tenancy. Instead, they will have to sign a new type of agreement to create a tenancy: the Private Residential Tenancy.

This agreement will give Scottish tenants new security and protections. Most importantly, it ends no-fault evictions by abolishing fixed-terms and giving tenants indefinite tenure, with strict new grounds for evicting a tenant. This is a huge change to the dynamic of the private rented sector in Scotland.

Summary of Changes for Landlords in Scotland

  • Tenants have indefinite tenure
  • Tenants can only be evicted on one of 18 grounds (full list below)
  • 84 day minimum notice period
  • Notice to Quit process scrapped and replaced with new Notice to Leave process
  • Controls on rent increased
    • Only one increase permitted per year
    • Three months’ notice required before increase
    • Disputed increases can be referred to a rent officer

Indefinite Tenure & New Grounds for Eviction

Private residential tenants (i.e. those on the new kind of contract) have indefinite tenure.  That means there’s no minimum term after which a landlord can serve an unqualified notice to quit.

This is the end of no-fault evictions – where a tenant can be asked to leave without having broken the contract and without the landlord needing to sell, move in, etc.

To evict a tenant from a Private Residential Tenancy, landlords will now have to serve notice to leave based on one of 18 new grounds for eviction.

18 New Grounds for Eviction for Scottish Tenants

If evicting a tenant, landlords must persuade the First-tier Tribunal that one of the following 18 grounds exist. Based on this, there are two kinds of grounds for eviction:

  • Mandatory Ground for Eviction are grounds where, if the First-tier Tribunal agrees the grounds exit, eviction is mandatory; i.e. the tenant must leave
  • Discretionary Grounds for Eviction are grounds where, if the First-tier Tribunal agrees the grounds exit, the Tribunal can still decide whether or not it is reasonable to evict the tenant

In addition, there are two grounds around rent and employment which can be either mandatory or discretionary depending on the details.

Mandatory Grounds for Eviction in Scotland

1. The landlord intends to sell within 3 months of the tenant leaving

2. The landlord’s lender is going to repossess and sell the property

3 .The landlord intends to refurbish the property, and the work will be too disruptive to live in the property

4. The landlord wants to move into the property

5. The landlord wants to let the property for another purpose (I.e. repurposing for non-residential use)

6. The property is required for a religious worker (and the property has previously been used in this way)

7. The tenant has a relevant criminal conviction (e.g. they committed a crime within the property)

8. The tenant is no longer using the property as their main home

Discretionary Grounds for Eviction in Scotland

9. The landlord’s family member intends to move in

10. The tenant no longer needs supported accommodation

11. The terms of the tenancy agreement have been breached by the tenant

12. The tenant has engaged in antisocial behaviour

13. The tenant has associated in the property with a person with a criminal conviction or who is antisocial

14. The landlord has had their registration refused or revoked

15. The landlord’s HMO license has been revoked

16. The landlord has been served an overcrowding statutory notice

Mandatory or Discretionary Grounds for Eviction

17. The tenant is in rent arreas for three consecutive months

18. The tenant has stopped being, or failed to become, an employee (of the landlord)

Longer Notice Periods for tenants

The new rules for landlords giving notice are based on whether the tenancy has been running for six months.

  • If the tenancy has been in place for less than six months, then the notice period will be a minimum of 28 days
  • After six months, this shoots up to a minimum of 84 days (which is 12 weeks)

There are some exceptions to the above. After six months, 28 days’ notice can be given if the landlord is using grounds 7, 8, 11, 12, 13 or 17.

Changes on Rent Increases in Scotland

For the new private residential tenancies, landlords will only be permitted to raise rents once every 12 months. There is a special Rent Increase Notice form that landlords must use when increasing rents. To increase the rent, the form must be served to the tenant three months ahead of time.

Tenants can refer the rent increase to a rent officer if they think the rise is too much. The rent officer will then make a judgement. They can agree with the tenant and reduce the rent increase, but they can also decide that the rent rise is not high enough, and increase the rent further.

The New Private Residential Tenancy Agreement

You can see an example of the Scottish Government’s New Model Tenancy Agreement here.

Landlords setting up new tenancies will have to give tenants a copy of the contract by the end of the day that the tenant moves in. This can be done electronically or on paper.

What about my existing Short Assured Tenancy?

Any existing short assured or assured tenancy will continue to run until one party serves notice to quit.

What about renewals?

If your short assured tenancy provides for contractual renewal, this can also continue until either party serves notice.

13 Replies to “Private Residential Tenancy: Scotland’s Strict New Grounds for Eviction”

  1. I am going two sell up worked hard all my life but two many bad
    Tenants the law and government are against hard working landlords

  2. I agree we also have to sell our property of 20 years because tennant hasn’t paid rent. We would be more understanding if the tennant wasn’t receiving housing benifit. But he is in full !! He hasn’t paid in 3 months and was late with every payment blaming his benifit being paid in arrears. The house has been broken into and we have had to deal with problem upon problem.

  3. I also had to evict a tenant who was not paying the rent though I
    am almost certain she was working illegally in the UK as she refused to give an employer reference on a letterhead (which gives the employers registration number and address on the UK Companies House register – if you enter it you an get all their info). Owing to all the rent laws which do not apply to our own homes if we live in them (so we are not protected by shelter, citizens’ advice and others) I cannot self manage and the letting agency will not let me increase the rent, which means tenants do not leave as the rent are so favorable but demand everything with the new laws. My letting agency which has my same postcode (as we choose neighbourhood agents) has drastically under represented their value of their property and shown 25% depreciation p..a. under fixed assets which is also one reason why I believe they will not let me increase the rent after 2 years. A new let is also much more work for them though they charge.

  4. I noticed;
    There are some exceptions to the above. After six months, 28 days’ notice can be given if the landlord is using grounds 7, 8, 11, 12, 13 or 17.
    17. The tenant is in rent areas for three consecutive months
    Ergo, if I have taken longer than three months to catch up, the landlord can evict me in 28 days flat?
    I have made payments, just insufflent to close the gap (currently £673)

    1. The landlord will be able to service a notice to leave with a notice period of 28 days. Although it is valid to service that notice, you can only be evicted by a Tribunal. If after the 28 days notice passes, you don’t leave and your landlord applies to the Tribunal for an eviction order, you must be in 3 months arrears on the day the case goes to Tribunal. If you are not, the tribunal will not grant an eviction order.

  5. Hi can u please advise me…my Tennant this month has not paid rent saying she off sick from work and no money…what should I be and saying to her at this stage ?if she doesn’t pay this month good chance she won’t be paying next month ???

    1. Hi Marie, is this a Scottish Private Residential Tenancy (PRT)? If so then there are rent arrears grounds for eviction that landlords can use if tenants fall behind on payments.

      At this stage I think it would be best to speak to your tenant in detail and try to find out the specifics of the situation, and learn if you are able to accommodate them in the tenancy during this tough period, or if you are simply not able to do that, and then to come to a written agreement on how to proceed. E.g. the tenant can make up the payments over the next 6 months.

      If that does not prove possible, then the ultimate recourse is to the eviction grounds outlined in this article.

  6. I have been living in my apartment for 5 years .I have my rent paid in full and not owing my private landlord here in Scotland.She sent me an email in June that I should move out in August.I took Ill and been going through depression.I asked her to give me time she said no that I must move out .She hasn’t served me a notice to quit but she only sent me an email that she wants to sell her house and I should move out or she would proceed with legal proceedings.Pls what can I do .

  7. The tenancy agreement for the flat I let (PRT) states the rent is due on 17th of month, date of entry. My tenant unilaterally without consultation altered the date of payment to last day of the month and despite agreeing to change back months ago has not done so. The tenant also refuses to communicate, doesn’t answer emails, texts phone calls or letters through the letter box. To date the tenant hasn’t paid December’s rent and still wont respond despite numerous attempts to contact.
    Does this situation constitute arrears grounds for eviction? I’m losing patience, I rely on the rent for income.

    1. Hi Jim, I’m sorry to hear this. It sounds incredibly frustrating to not have any communication. The grounds for eviction are clear that tenants must be in arrears for three consecutive months more before ground 17 can be used to serve a valid eviction notice.

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