Q: AST abolished in Scotland, will England follow soon?

A: Yes the Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement (AST) has been abolished in Scotland from December 1, 2017, under the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016.

This has been replaced by a Private Residential Tenancy (PRT).

The problem found with the classic AST is that Landlords can give notice to their tenants via a S21 without providing a reason.

This results in many tenants living in constant fear that any day they may lose their home.

To correct this the Scottish system tenants can only be evicted via one or more of

18 grounds.

Similar though not exactly the same to existing English grounds under Section 8 of Housing Act 1985.

Existing AST is Scotland will continue until either the tenancy ends via notice or both agree to create a PRT.

There is also a Model Tenancy Agreement (MTA) which Landlords can use to avoid the classic case of downloading out of date tenancy agreements from the internet and this must now be in writing.

Gone is the automatic verbal default that did exist.

These also come with Easy Read Notes.

To end the tenancy, tenants only need to give 28 days notice from receipt by the Landlord and Landlords now need to issue a Notice to Leave.

As mentioned preciously this need to list at least one of the 18 grounds, eight of which are mandatory, eight discretionary and two could be either;

• Mandatory grounds - where the First-Tier Tribunal (Housing and Property Chamber) agrees that the ground exists.

For examples include: The landlord intends to sell the property, the landlords mortgage provider wants to repossess the property, tenant has a relevant criminal conviction, or the property has been abandoned.

• Discretionary grounds - The Tribunal still has to decide whether it's reasonable to issue an eviction order, even if they deem that the ground is met. Examples include: Tenants breach a term(s) of the tenancy agreement, tenant has engaged in anti-social behaviour or the landlord's HMO licence has been revoked.

• Grounds which could be either - rent arrears for three consecutive months.

If the tenant owes at least a month's rent when the tribunal considers the case the

ground is mandatory.

If less than a month's rent on the first day of the tribunal, the ground is discretionary.

If the tenant has been at the property for less than six months, 28 days’ notice is required, otherwise it is 84 days unless related to conduct for example rent arrears, in which case we are back to 28 days.

Should the tenant not vacate Landlords apply for an eviction order via the First-tier tribunal.

Any rent increases are no more than once a year following three months’ notice using the 'landlords rent-increase notice to tenant(s)' form.

Any appeals is via a rent officer within 21 days of receipt notification by completing Part 3.

Security deposit are now no more than two month's rent.

Whilst only a brief summary of the key points, what is interesting is that the Welsh Government are also talking of abolishing the AST and back home in England the Labour Government under Corbyn have indicated that they too would make changes to give tenants more security.

Though currently the Conservative Government appear to be lagging behind as Brexit right or wrong takes more of a focus.

Please continue to send in your letting related questions to steven@sawyersestateagents.co.uk