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Rent reforms to bring tenants 'significant improvements'

Landlords will only be able to increase rent once a year under the new regulations.

Changes: Tenants given more power under new rules (file pic).
Changes: Tenants given more power under new rules (file pic). STV

Changes to Scotland's private rented housing sector are expected to bring "significant improvements" to tenants.

A new standard tenancy agreement, which means landlords can only put up rents once a year and allows tenants to challenge unfair rises, comes into force from Friday.

Under a Private Residential Tenancy, landlords will have to give tenants one of 18 reasons for ending their contract.

Meanwhile, rental agreements will have no end date and can only be terminated by either the property owner or the tenant giving written notice.

Housing minister Kevin Stewart said: "The private rental sector has grown substantially in recent years and now provides a place to call home for 760,000 people.

"This is the biggest change to the sector for a generation and will bring about significant improvements in private renting, benefiting both tenants and landlords.

"We want to ensure everyone has a safe and warm place to call home."

'These new laws bring unprecedented security of tenure to private renters with landlords now needing a good reason to evict tenants.'
Shelter Scotland director Graeme Brown

Campaigners at the housing charity Shelter Scotland hailed the changes as being a "new dawn for all private renters".

Director Graeme Brown said: "These new laws bring unprecedented security of tenure to private renters with landlords now needing a good reason to evict tenants."

The legislation could also help identify rogue landlords, with John Blackwood, chief executive of the Scottish Association of Landlords saying they had worked with ministers ahead of the changes coming into place.

He said: "The new clauses will make it easier for landlords to ensure contracts are fully compliant with the law as well as being easier for both them and tenants to understand, hopefully reducing tension and unnecessary disagreements.

"We also hope this will make it easier to identify rogue landlords and drive them out of the sector whilst encouraging the overwhelming number of landlords who act responsibly to play their part in increasing the supply of housing available in Scotland."

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