The Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee has published its Stage 1 Report on the new Private Residential Tenancy proposed for Scotland. The report contains a large number of recommendations and reveals that the Committee has taken on board many of the representations made by stakeholders and representatives for landlords and tenants.
The Committee did not recommend the retention of the no fault ground for repossession of properties but instead called on the Scottish Government to work with landlords and letting agents to ensure that the 16 grounds for repossession provide "an appropriate and proportionate balance between tenants and landlords". They also asked the Government to further consider which grounds should be mandatory and which should be discretionary and how much flexibility is to be afforded to the First Tier Tribunal when making decisions relating to repossession.
The Committee did take note of the representations made by Brodies and many other bodies and recommended that the Scottish Government reconsider how the Bill should apply to student lets in purpose built student accommodation (PBSA). The Committee recommends that the Scottish Government should:
- consider options to allow tenancies of PBSA to be set for agreed terms;
- consider further whether the proposed 'one size fits all' tenancy takes into account the needs of students and the requirement of appropriate accommodation in the student sector; and
- further investigate how the tourism sector will be affected by the new tenancy and the removal of the no-fault ground for repossession. Will the Bill have the unintended consequence of starving the holiday let market during peak times such as the Edinburgh Festival?
The lets granted by universities and educational bodies are exempt from the legislation. The Minister has undertaken to reconsider all the evidence put forward on student accommodation, conceding that PBSA provides the same type of accommodation for the same purposes as that provided by universities and educational establishments.
Following upon representations made by landlord and tenant representatives, the Committee agreed with the Scottish Government's plan to introduce an amendment at Stage 2 of the Bill to remove the need for an executor to be appointed when a tenant dies and there is no successor, which will save expense and time for all involved.
The Committee recommended that the Government work with rural businesses to ensure that their needs are met, but did not accept the evidence presented on behalf rural employers seeking a ground for repossession when a property is needed for an employee.
The Committee was presented with evidence from those representing landlords and investors that rent pressure zones are not the answer to the cause of higher rents; the main cause being the lack of housing. The Committee has questioned whether rent pressure zones are necessary and has asked the Scottish Government to produce evidence to support them. It also called for the Scottish Government to produce an update on their action plan to increase the supply of housing across all sectors and to monitor and prevent any adverse effect that rent pressure zones, or the threat of them, may have on investment in the sector.
The further recommendations contained in the Report can be found by clicking on the link to the Stage 1 Report below. The Bill will now return to the Scottish Parliament and will be subject tofurther amendments. If you would like any further information on residential tenancies in Scotland please get in touch with Johane Murray, or your usual Brodies contact.
Click here for the full Stage 1 Report.