Following on from last month’s blog on the proposed rent control provisions in the Housing Bill, this month’s blog looks at the some of the other aspects in the Bill that directly affect the Private Rented Sector. The order they appear, follows the order they appear in the Bill rather than any particular order of significance.

The Bill, as introduced can be found here.

Delaying Evictions

The Bill requires that the First-tier tribunal when issuing an Eviction or Possession Orders to consider whether it is reasonable to order a delay in the date the tenancy comes to an end (for PRTs) or the date the landlord can enforce any Possession Order (for assured tenancies). The factors that have to be considered when doing so, are whether or not delaying/postponing would:

  • Cause a tenant or a member of their household to experience financial hardship;
  • Have a detrimental effect on the health of the tenant or a member of their household;
  • Have another detrimental effect on the tenant or member of their household due to disability;
  • Cause the landlord to experience financial hardship;
  • Have a detrimental effect on the health of the landlord; or
  • Have another detrimental effect on the landlord due to the landlord having a disability.

In addition, the tribunal would have to consider whether there are any seasonal factors that would contribute to any such financial hardship or detrimental effect.

Some grounds would be exempt from this consideration, being:

For PRTs

  • The tenant is not occupying as their only or principal home (Ground 10);
  • The tenant has a relevant conviction (ground 13); and
  • That the tenant has engaged in relevant anti-social behaviour (Ground 14).

For Assured/SATs

  • The tenant (or someone residing with them or visiting them) has been convicted of a relevant offence or engaged in anti-social behaviour (Ground 15)

For Regulated Tenancies

  • Where the tenant or any person residing or lodging with him or any sub-tenant of his has been guilty of conduct, which is a nuisance or annoyance to adjoining occupiers, or has been convicted of using the dwelling-house or allowing the dwelling-house to be used for immoral or illegal purposes (Case 2).

This obligation is in addition to the existing power for the tribunal to consider delaying the execution of any order issued by it.

Unlawful Eviction

The Bill proposes the reinstatement of the rules regarding the assessment of damages for unlawful eviction we had under Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) (Scotland) Act 2022, meaning that damages would be awarded based on a 3 to 36 multiplier of the monthly rent depending on the manner of the unlawful eviction and the impact on the former residential occupier (note that is not limited to tenants). Damages can be awarded for less than a three month multiplier of rent where the tribunal considers it appropriate in all the circumstances of the case.


This applies to PRTs only, but as mentioned in last month’s blog, there is the possibility of regulations that will convert all assured (including short-assured) tenancies to PRTs. In short, this provision would allow tenants to keep pets in a property with the landlord’s consent which consent cannot be reasonably withheld. It also provides a route for a tenant to request such consent from a landlord and appeal to the tribunal against a refusal (including a deemed refusal where the landlord does not respond) of such consent or any conditions on the keeping of a pet imposed by the landlord.

The definition of pet means any animal (exclusion – dangerous, wild animals), which is kept for:

  1. Personal interest;
  2. Companionship;
  3. Ornamental purposes; or
  4. Any combination of these.

It will therefore cover the usual dogs, cats, fish and so on.

A landlord can agree to that request with or without conditions or refuse it within 42 days of the request. The response must be in writing, specify any conditions to be imposed or reasons for refusal.

Tenants can appeal after giving the landlord notice within 42 days of the refusal/response (where there is no response, 42 days after receipt of the request by the landlord) of their intention to do so and what they are appealing against (refusal including deemed refusal or conditions). They then have a further 42 days from the date they gave such notice to the landlord to lodge the appeal with the tribunal.

The tribunal can thereafter:

  • Dismiss the appeal; or
  • Issue what is called a “consent order” which can either allow the keeping of pets and/or remove unreasonable conditions imposed.

There are further provisions that allow the SG to issue regulations in the future to set out when it may or may not be reasonable to refuse consent or impose conditions.

Making Changes to Let Property

Two categories of changes are described.

  • Category 1 – these do not need consent. Further regulations will be produced to detail what these may be. The consultation proceeding the Bill suggested as possible examples like putting pictures or posters on the wall.
  • Category 2 – these would need consent of the landlord (not to be unreasonably refused) but could not be requested until after six months from the start of the tenancy. Again, it is suggested that examples will be set out in future regulations, but looking at the consultation again, what is given by way of possible example is painting walls a different colour.

The costs of making any changes are to be met by the tenant unless the landlord agrees otherwise.

Seeking Consent

The pattern is the same as for consent for pets.

  • Requests need to be in writing.
  • A landlord has 42 days to respond (a failure to respond within that period is a deemed refusal).
  • The landlord should respond in writing to consent (with or without conditions) or refuse.
  • If there is a refusal or conditions imposed, reasons must be given.
  • If tenants want to appeal to the tribunal, they must notify the landlord in writing within 42 days of the refusal (or deemed refusal) or consent with conditions of their intention to do so (and what they are appealing against).
  • There is a further 42 day period thereafter to lodge the appeal with the tribunal.
  • The tribunal can dismiss the appeal or allow it and issue a consent order to allow the changes requested or to remove any condition(s).
  • There are further provisions that allow the SG to issue regulations in the future to set out when it may or may not be reasonable to refuse consent or impose conditions.

Unclaimed Deposits

The Bill contains proposed powers for the Scottish Government to take deposits that remain unclaimed after five years of the end of the tenancy to be used for:

  • Advice, information and support for the benefit of tenants
  • Preventing homelessness
  • Certain administration costs incurred in claiming deposits and reporting on their use

Letting Agent Registration

There are slight changes to the rules about who needs to be notified in an application (including renewal) for letting agent registration or where there is a change in circumstances. A further provision about revoking Letting Agent Registration Numbers where agents cease to exist as well as one about increasing the period that refusals of registration are recorded on the register from 12 months to 3 years (you can still apply again for registration within those 3 years even if you have previously been refused).

Ending Joint Tenancies (PRTs)

Probably the most significant proposed change outside rent controls is a provision that would allow joint tenants in PRTs to end a tenancy even where the other tenant(s) do not agree. This is an issue that has been identified with joint PRTs since they were created.

What the Bill provides for is that one or more of the joint tenants will be able to end a joint PRT even if the other joint tenants do not agree.

The way they can do that is by giving notice (pre-notice) to the other joint tenants (as well as copying in the landlord on same) of at least two months before giving Notice to Leave (NTL) to the landlord (a further 28 days’ notice). If that is done, then notwithstanding the other tenants do not agree, the PRT will end on expiry of that NTL and all tenants right to occupy the property will come to an end.

There are two situations where that will not be the case, and these are where before the expiry of the NTL (not the pre-notice):

  • All joint tenants request the lease continues and the landlord agrees; or
  • The outgoing tenant assigns their interest in the tenancy to someone else (with the landlord’s consent).

If you require any further information or advice, please contact us or watch our blogs for further updates.