Explaining private tenancies
A private tenancy is a tenancy in which a person rents their home from a private landlord or company. When you start renting from a private landlord, they must give you a legal tenancy agreement, outlining the terms. You can go to comprehensive guidance on your rights as a tenant on the Shelter Scotland website.
Tenancies of separate dwellings, beginning after 1st December 2017 are likely to be Private Residential Tenancies, which are not for a fixed term. Private Residential Tenants have more protection, because the landlord can only seek to end the tenancy if one of 18 grounds apply (not just because he or she wishes to end the tenancy).
The landlord must issue a notice if he or she wishes to bring a PRT to an end. This notice must say which of the 18 specific grounds for eviction apply.
The full list of grounds are in Schedule 3 of the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016.
If you are served with a notice, and you move out of the property (either when the notice expires, or before), the tenancy comes to an end. If you stay on, the landlord can apply to the First Tier Tribunal, who will issue an eviction order, if the landlord can show that one or more of these grounds applies. The Tribunal cannot issue an eviction order under any other ground.
- Sub-tenants - If there are people in the property who are sub-tenants of the main tenant, the Tribunal can include them in the eviction order, but must allow them the chance to have their say first.
- Wrongful Termination Order - If it can be shown that the Tribunal was misled into issuing an eviction order by the landlord, the Tribunal can be asked to issue a 'Wrongful-Termination Order'. This would require the landlord to pay damages of up to 6 months' rent (the Tribunal decides the amount).
Also, if the landlord misleads a Private Residential Tenant into leaving the property during (or at the end of) the notice period, so that the tenancy automatically ends, the former tenant can ask the Tribunal to issue a 'Wrongful-Termination Order'.
When the Tribunal issues a 'Wrongful-Termination Order', the local Council receives a copy. This could affect the landlord's ability to rent property in the future
If your tenancy began before the 1 of December 2017, it is likely you will have either a short assured or an assured tenancy.
If you leave your tenancy without giving proper notice, or before the end of the tenancy, you will still be liable for the property and the rent. Your Landlord cannot force you to vacate a property, without an Eviction Order. Any other actions on behalf of the Landlord could be seen as harassment and/or Illegal eviction. Even after the expiry of the tenancy dates and/or a notice to quit date, you may remain living in a property until court directs otherwise. For more information, see our topic on Eviction