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Topic: Ending a tenancy - Scotland  (Read 1345 times)

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Ending a tenancy - Scotland
« on: June 23, 2020, 01:57:27 PM »
Ok, when we moved in to our flat back in 2017, we had a six-month Short Assured Tenancy. We went month-to-month after that point.  In the lease agreement was a two-month notice of intent to vacate clause.  As of January, 2018, the Private Housing Act of 2016 came into effect. As I understand it (and as I've found it on the landlord's website) [edited for brevity here]:

The introduction of The Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016 came into force in January 2018. This legislation introduced a new type of tenancy, 'The Private Residential Tenancy'.  The Private Residential Tenancy replaced the Short Assured Tenancy regime.

Key changes:      a tenant can end the agreement by giving four weeks’ notice, regardless of length of let set out in the SPRT



Ok, not having seen that notice about the PRT at the time, I wrote to the landlord's letting office asking if they needed the full two months' notice, or if we could go with something shorter. I gave the information about our lease terms, and when it was signed. I got a very abbreviated message back:

the minimum notice period is 28 days notice. If when you are leaving (28 days before) please just send us a termination email

I wrote back to thank them, and asked if she was sure, because their website (on another page) was saying we had to give two months, and that was also the period noted in our original lease.  I gave her the time frame of the original lease again.  (I wasn't sure if they simply hadn't gotten around to updating the website.) Her reply was:

if you agreement says two months then it will be two months. our minimum notice is 28 days and that can start anytime in the month   

::)

From what I can find online, existing SAT tenancies continue, but tenancies established after 1 Dec. 2017 must be PRTs.  Since our original SAT ended on 7 Nov 2017, and rolled over into a month-to-month tenancy, are we covered as a continuing SAT or are we now on a PRT?

I have no confidence in the landlord's rep's response, so I am sending a written query to their office asking for clarification (registered mail) so that I have something concrete. (I'm also not really comfortable with sending in a vacancy termination notice via email.)  Does anyone reading this know for sure which set of "rules" is at play here? (I will be checking advice bureaus, but thought I'd see if anyone here actually knows the answer.)

Thanks.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2020, 02:20:50 PM by Nan D. »


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Re: Ending a tenancy - Scotland
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2020, 09:46:44 AM »
From what I can find online, existing SAT tenancies continue, but tenancies established after 1 Dec. 2017 must be PRTs.  Since our original SAT ended on 7 Nov 2017, and rolled over into a month-to-month tenancy, are we covered as a continuing SAT or are we now on a PRT?

 I don't know the housing laws for Scotland. You can look on Shelter Scotland to see what type of tenancy you have-
https://scotland.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/downloads_and_tools/online_checkers/what_kind_of_tenancy_do_i_have

And there is this guide from gov Scotland for landlords-
https://www.mygov.scot/ending-a-tenancy-as-a-landlord/
« Last Edit: July 05, 2020, 10:23:34 AM by Sirius »


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« Last Edit: July 05, 2020, 10:27:04 AM by Sirius »


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Re: Ending a tenancy - Scotland
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2020, 10:39:47 AM »
Thanks.

Apparently I should have gone ahead and signed a new lease as I had thought about doing, to add the Daughter to it. That would have happened after the new type of lease regulations became valid. As it is, my lease is still Short Assured Tenancy per the old regulations, as it was signed before Dec 2017. I have to give two months' notice.

Good and bad, that.  I am really, with Covid and potential sudden shutdowns, a little leery about giving two month's notice with the plan that the removals company comes in the second month. If they suddenly can't remove my stuff, we're in trouble. If they can't remove our stuff and/or suddenly we can't fly home, we're in trouble once the lease is over. Aka homeless.

I was hoping shipping our stuff home would take as long (several months) as it took to get here, but the mover is quoting four to six weeks. Unless I want to pay an extra $750 to put it in storage over here for a month. And then hope shipping continues. The two-week quarantine in the USA is not helping with the logistics. Ordinarily I'd say we could find a place to live easily in a month, but two weeks is cutting it uncomfortably close. So I guess we'll give our notice, store our stuff, fly over and find a place, then have it sent on. Ideally I'd fly over and house-hunt, then come back and finalize the move. But with the the chance of getting refused entry into the UK, the six weeks of quarantine involved (two going, two back here, two more going) plus the added expense of quarantine hotels and rental cars, yeah, I guess we'll have to store it and then send for it.

Perhaps I'll inquire of the landlord if we can have a contingency to our notice - that should Covid-related matters keep us from properly vacating we can continue to pay to stay here.  There are other vacant units in the block now and they have not been marketing them, so perhaps that might fly - better to have an over-staying tenant who's paying than an empty flat?
« Last Edit: July 05, 2020, 10:46:55 AM by Nan D. »


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Re: Ending a tenancy - Scotland
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2020, 10:55:14 AM »
Perhaps I'll inquire of the landlord if we can have a contingency to our notice - that should Covid-related matters keep us from properly vacating we can continue to pay to stay here.  There are other vacant units in the block now and they have not been marketing them, so perhaps that might fly - better to have an over-staying tenant who's paying than an empty flat?

The landlord can't make you move out (in England at least) as only a court order can do that and they take many, many months and can be delayed by the tenant if they appeal to the court. With the Covid 19 situation, there is protection from eviction and I just read that on one of the Scottish sites too. There might be financial implications though if you give notive to leave and then don't? Perhaps contact Shelter Scotland and ask them about your legal rights before you speak to the letting agent? 

Adding their contact details.
https://scotland.shelter.org.uk/about_us/contact_us

« Last Edit: July 05, 2020, 11:00:32 AM by Sirius »


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Re: Ending a tenancy - Scotland
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2020, 10:59:05 AM »
The landlord can't make you move out (in England at least) as only a court order can do that and they take many, many months and can be delayed by the tenant if they appeal to the court. With the Covid 19 situation, there is protection from eviction and I just read that on one of the Scottish sites too. There might be financial implications though if you give notive to leave and then don't? Perhaps contact Shelter Scotland and ask them about your legal rights before you speak to the letting agent?

Yeah, that's a good plan. We had wanted to target early September for a move-out. But that would mean giving notice in like 10 days. We are still waiting to have an estimator from the moving company in, as they can only now just start to work again up here. So if we can sort it all by the end of July, we would have through September as legal tenants. Best to find out the other options in advance, in case of problems.

If they did try to evict us, of course, I'd assume there would be charges. (Which, evilly-thinking, would be hard to collect from someone out of the country with no forwarding address. But I'd rather not go there.)


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Re: Ending a tenancy - Scotland
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2020, 11:05:36 AM »


If they did try to evict us, of course, I'd assume there would be charges. (Which, evilly-thinking, would be hard to collect from someone out of the country with no forwarding address. But I'd rather not go there.)

You would be long gone before it even got to the courts and their costs (in England at least). It wouldn't be that much under England's laws if you didn't move out after giving notice. I don't know Scottish housing laws but I doubt if it will differ that much?
I wondered if your contract would come into force and start the 2 month notice again? Shelter Scotland should know.

You could also look at Airbnb or a holiiday let as your plan B?

Or you could give your notice later and move out any time before that final date? You would have to pay up to your end of contract date but at least that would give you more security and allow you to choose when you leave. If they found another tenant who could move in before your end date and you all agree to that, that would reduce your cost, but it might not be possible to find another tenant, or a tenant who will pay the same amount of monthly rent as you have been paying.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2020, 12:01:17 PM by Sirius »


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Re: Ending a tenancy - Scotland
« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2020, 08:38:33 PM »
After a long period of silence from the landlord, they are allowing us to count the two months from the date I gave them notice rather than two calendar months. So I'll be paying for 3 weeks' rent for an empty apartment on the wrong side of the pond, but it's better than 4 weeks. I was rather hoping they'd let us off the hook as of Sept 1, but no dice.

Now to cancel the direct debit and see if they'll allow me to pay the 3 weeks from the security deposit, rather than faffing around with paying by credit card and then asking for a refund of the security deposit. Ideally I'd like to just close out my bank account, but it looks like I'm not going to be able to do that as I'll be getting a refund from the Council Tax (which I have to pay up to the vacate-date), and water/sewer (same). And then the security deposit. Because it's a heck of a lot easier to transfer it out to the USA with Transferwise than it is to get a paper check forwarded to me (in £) and have to deal with losing the extra fees I'd be charged in the USA to convert it to dollars in depositing it to my bank account.


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Re: Ending a tenancy - Scotland
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2020, 08:08:49 AM »
I'll be getting a refund from the Council Tax (which I have to pay up to the vacate-date), and water/sewer (same).

water/sewer is included in the council tax... it's not billed separately.


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