Discretion added to private rented sector proposals welcomed by Faculty

19 May

More flexibility in the system for seeking repossession of properties in the private rented sector has been welcomed by the Faculty.

Initial proposals by the Scottish Government last year had listed eight grounds for landlords to use for repossession, and each was to be mandatory - if a ground was proved, a court must issue a possession order.

In response to a consultation on the plans, the Faculty had said that a system of mandatory grounds was "insufficiently flexible".

Now, in a second consultation, an element of discretion has been included in three of the now 11 grounds for repossession. The three relate to a tenant failing to pay the full rent over three consecutive months (ground 6), antisocial behaviour by a tenant (ground 7), and a tenant otherwise breaching the clauses of the tenancy agreement (ground 8).

The Faculty said in a response to the second consultation that it agreed that there should be discretion.

It added: "We remain of the view that excluding discretion from grounds 7 and 8, in particular, would have been inconsistent with the stated policy objective of affording tenants greater security of tenure, and we are pleased to note that the Scottish Government has endorsed the approach set out in Faculty's response to the initial consultation."

The response stated: "Whilst we appreciate that the Scottish Government has attempted to strike a balance between security of tenure and the effectiveness of a landlord's remedies, we are concerned that the variety of timescales involved in serving notice, referral to the (First-tier) tribunal and distinction between the discretionary and mandatory grounds may give rise to some confusion on the part of litigants."