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Private Tenancies Bill passed

Published: 17 Mar 2016 18:30
Part of:

Bill will ensure more secure tenancies.

A new law that will modernise the private rented sector has been passed by the Scottish Parliament.

The Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Bill will create simpler tenancies, offer stability and security to the 700,000 tenants who call the private rented sector home, and ensure predictability over rent increases.

This new tenancy represents a significant change in private renting. Key measures contained in the bill include:

  • Improved security for tenants, which means they cannot be asked to leave their home simply because the tenancy agreement has reached its end date
  • Comprehensive and robust repossession grounds which will enable a landlord to regain possession of their property in reasonable circumstances
  • The opportunity for local authorities to implement rent caps in areas where there are excessive rent increases
  • Moves to a more streamlined system with no confusing pre-tenancy notices and easier-to-understand model tenancy agreement.

In an announcement made to Parliament, Housing Minister Margaret Burgess also confirmed the Scottish Government's intention that no fees will be charged for anyone taking a case to the Housing and Property Tribunal.

The Minister marked Stage Three of the bill by visiting Fife Keyfund this morning, which works to place those at risk of homelessness into stable private tenancies.

Mrs Burgess said:

"This bill ensures the end of a process in this parliamentary term that started with the publication of PRS Strategy in 2013, has included regulating letting agents and now culminates in this bill. These significant changes will transform the private rented sector, creating a more modern tenancy, bring stability to the sector and helping to meet Scotland's housing needs.

"We are committed to achieving a sustainable, long-term solution to addressing housing need and affordability. Both landlords and tenants have told us this new law will mean a modern and fit-for-purpose sector. Its range of measures will ensure the sector is better managed, simplified and successful for all in the private rented sector. I am delighted that this bill has now passed with cross party support."

Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive of Crisis, said:

"This bill will mean private tenants can feel much more secure about creating a home for themselves, particularly with the end of so-called 'no fault eviction'. The private rented sector is growing in Scotland and these measures mean Scotland is again taking the lead in protecting people from the devastating effects of homelessness.

"Making sure access to the tribunal is free for tenants will also help more vulnerable tenants be able to access their legal rights if and when they need to."

John Blackwood, Chief Executive of the Scottish Association of Landlords, said:

"We are pleased that the long process of considering and passing this bill has been completed. Landlords and letting agents can now look forward to continuing to promote the importance of the private rented sector in providing high quality housing across the country."

Notes to editors

For more information:

Fife Keyfund is a rent deposit guarantee scheme run by Trust in Fife. Crisis supports rent deposit guarantee schemes across Scotland with help from the Scottish Government to help vulnerable and low-income tenants access housing in the private rented sector.