Press myth-busting

We often get calls from members who’ve read about new legislation in the press and believe it applies to the properties they rent out in Scotland. Scottish housing legislation is devolved so a lot of what appears in the UK national press doesn’t apply in Scotland. The most common press myths we hear from members at the moment are:

1. EPCs
Since 1 April 2018 private rented sector (PRS) properties in England & Wales have had to achieve a minimum energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of E at the point they are let to new tenants. It is not yet a requirement for Scottish PRS properties to adhere to a minimum EPC rating. The Scottish government has plans to introduce a similar requirement in Scotland from 2020. You can read more about this here.

2. Right to Rent
All private landlords in England have been required to check new tenants have the right to live in the UK since 1 February 2016. This requirement has not yet been implemented in Scotland. If it is implemented in the future then landlords will need to obtain paperwork to prove that all their prospective tenants are entitled to live in the UK, not just those that they believe aren’t UK citizens. In June 2018, the High Court gave permission to the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants to proceed with a legal challenge against the Right to Rent policy on the basis that it is discriminatory. The hearing of the High Court challenge will be held on 18 and 19 December 2018.

3.Deposits
The Westminster (UK) government is planning to place a cap of 5 weeks’ rent on the amount a landlord can ask for as a deposit in England. At the moment there is no cap on how much landlords can ask for as a deposit in England. In Scotland there has been a cap of the equivalent of 2 months’ rent since 1984 and there are no plans at the moment to reduce that amount.

SAL members can contact the advice line with any queries about PRS legislation in Scotland.

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