In some rural areas the private rented sector is often the main, or only, housing option for those unable to purchase a home on the open market. Over the last few years the sector has seen a number of changes, largely through increased regulation and reform of the housing benefit system.
Scottish Land & Estates is working with members, the Scottish Government, local authorities and other stakeholders such as Shelter to ensure that the Private Rented Sector plays an important role in the provision of good quality, effective housing supply. This is being actioned through a variety of routes:
- Advice and guidance to landlords on duties and responsibilities, and also support in dealing with any tenancy related problems
- Involvement in Landlord Accreditation Scotland.
- Promoting good practice in the allocation of properties.
- Assisting members in developing nomination agreements with local authorities and registered social landlords.
- Providing advice Rural Leasing Schemes and Lead Tenancies.
- Bringing empty and non-effective properties back into use through involvement in the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership.
Tenancy Deposit Regulations
Since the Tenancy Deposit Schemes (Scotland) Regulations came into force on 7 March 2011, the Scottish Government has been considering proposals for the operation of tenancy deposit schemes. Ministerial approval has been granted to the following schemes giving landlords the ability to choose which scheme or schemes they want to submit deposits to:-
- The Letting Service Scotland
- SafeDeposit Scotland
- MyDeposit Scotland
The schemes became operational on Monday 2 July 2012.
The legal duties on landlords are:
- to pay deposits to an approved tenancy deposit scheme.
- to provide the tenant with key information about the tenancy and deposit.
Landlords should be aware that there are transitional arrangements for complying with the legislation and these timescales apply to all tenancies including those in place before the legislation came into force.
The dates by which landlords must pay deposits to an approved scheme and provide information to the tenant vary, depending on when the deposit was received:
Deposit received prior to 7 March 2011
Where tenancy renewed on or after 2 October 2012 and before 2 April 2013
Deposits to be submitted within 30 working days of renewal
In any other case
By 15 May 2013
Deposit received on or after 7 March 2011 and before 2 July 2012
By 13 November 2012
Deposit received on or after 2 July 2012 and before 2 October 2012
By 13 November 2012
Deposit received on or after 2 October 2012
Deposits to be submitted within 30 working days of the beginning of the tenancy
An Information Sheet has been produced
Private Rented Housing (Scotland) Act 2011
The Private Rented Housing (Scotland) Bill was passed on 17 March 2011, and has now received Royal Assent. A timetable for commencement of the various provisions contained with the Act will be agreed with the next Housing Minister. An Information Sheet is currently being finalised.
Housing Benefit Reform
The Scottish Government’s Housing Benefit Reform Stakeholder Advisory Group continues to meet to discuss the critical issue of benefit reform, and members of the group, including Scottish Land & Estates, have been asked to identify what they see as the most damaging elements of the HB reforms on housing policy and practice, to ensure that Scottish Government campaigning can be focused on these issues. Scottish Land & Estates is very ably represented on this group by SW member Kim Donald.