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Private residential tenancy

The tenancy system establishes the legal agreement between tenant and landlord, and is an important part of making sure the private rented sector functions well.

On 1 December 2017 a new type of tenancy - the private residential tenancy - came into force, replacing the assured and short assured tenancy agreements for all new tenancies.

What the changes mean for private lets

The tenancy provides security, stability and predictability for tenants and appropriate safeguards for landlords, lenders and investors. The new legal requirements for landlords and tenants are detailed in the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016.

The new tenancy, which must be used for all new tenancies created on or after 1 December 2017:

  • is open-ended, which means a landlord will no longer be able to ask a tenant to leave simply because the fixed term has ended
  • provides more predictable rents and protection for tenants against excessive rent increases
  • includes the ability to introduce local rent caps for rent pressure areas
  • provides comprehensive and robust grounds for repossession that will allow landlords to regain possession in 18 specified circumstances

Any existing short assured and assured tenancies will continue, but new tenancies granted in the private rented sector from December 2017 will be private residential tenancies.

Private residential tenancy: guides for landlords and tenants

Guides for landlords and tenants about the private residential tenancy are available:

Online courses, with Shelter Scotland, are available on the following topics:

More details.

Model private residential tenancy agreement

By law, a landlord must give a tenant all the terms of their tenancy in writing. Our Scottish Government Model Private Residential Tenancy Agreement can be used to do this.
Our online model private residential tenancy agreement tool is easy to use and helps a landlord create a tenancy agreement by filling in details in an online form.

Alternatively, a landlord can download a pdf of the Private residential tenancy model agreement form and complete it by hand.

A landlord is also required by law to give a tenant a set of notes to accompany their tenancy terms. If a landlord uses the Scottish Government Model Private Residential Tenancy Agreement, a landlord must give their tenant these notes:

If a landlord has used another type of tenancy agreement, they must give their tenant these notes:

In order to comply with obligations under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and to advise tenants of their rights, all landlords need to issue their tenants with a privacy notice

Notices/forms for Private Residential Tenancies

There are six notices/forms set out in legislation which must be used for particular purposes if a tenant has a private residential tenancy. These include a Notice to Leave and a Rent Increase Notice.

Background to the development of the new tenancy

A place to stay, a place to call home: a strategy for the private rented sector in Scotland contained an action to review the current tenancy regime to ensure it was fit for purpose and meet the growing demand for private rented housing from a range of different household types, including families. In September 2013 a stakeholder-led group was established to review private tenancies.

The group made one main recommendation, namely that the current assured tenancy regime be replaced by a new one for all future private sector lets. The group also agreed that the new tenancy should provide clarity, simplicity, ease of use and flexibility.

Ministers accepted the recommendation and consulted with tenants, tenants representative organisations, landlords, landlord representative organisations, letting agents, investors and local authorities during the development of the new tenancy.

Further information is available on the tenancy review section of the gov.scot archive.