Renting out property without being registered with the council is a criminal offence and you can be served with a Rent Penalty Notice (which prevents you from charging your tenant rent) or fined up to £50,000 if found guilty. You are registered if you are entered into the Scottish Landlord Register prepared and maintained by the local council for the purposes of Part 8 of the Antisocial Behaviour etc. (Scotland) Act 2004.
The Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016 commenced on 1 December 2017 and introduced the 'private residential tenancy'. Its purpose is to improve security, stability and predictability for tenants and provide safeguards for landlords, lenders and investors.
The new tenancy is open-ended and will last until a tenant wishes to leave the let property or a landlord uses one (or more) of 18 grounds for eviction.
Improvements for landlords include:
- no more confusing pre-tenancy notices, such as the AT5
- where a tenant is in rent arrears, a landlord can refer a case for repossession more quickly
- a Scottish Government 'model private residential tenancy agreement', which includes standardised mandatory and discretionary tenancy terms
- a digital version of the Scottish Government 'model private residential tenancy agreement', an online tool that can be edited, allowing landlords to easily put together and send out a tenancy agreement suitable for their specific property
- one simple notice when regaining possession of a property called a 'notice to leave' instead of the 'notice to quit', 'section 33 notice' and 'notice of proceedings' which are used when a landlord is bringing a short assured tenancy to an end.
- eighteen modernised grounds for repossession, which include new grounds where the property has been abandoned or the landlord intends to sell