New rules for Private residential tenancy in Scotland

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. It replaces assured and short assured tenancy agreements for all new tenancies.

What the changes mean for private lets

The tenancy will provide security, stability and predictability for tenants and appropriate safeguards for landlords, lenders and investors. It relates to the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016.

The new tenancy commenced on 1 December 2017 and will: 

  • be an open-ended tenancy, which means a landlord will no longer be able to ask a tenant to leave simply because the fixed term has ended
  • provide more predictable rents and protection for tenants against excessive rent increases
  • include the ability to introduce local rent caps for rent pressure areas
  • provide 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

We have developed guides for landlords and tenants about the private residential tenancy: 

Model private residential tenancy agreement

Our online model private residential tenancy agreement is now available.

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 meets 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.