‘Harder to evict antisocial tenants’ under new law

TENANTS who engage in antisocial behaviour would be harder to evict under proposed legislation, landlords have warned.

Glasgow youngsters spend more time hanging out online rather than outdoors. Picture: John Devlin
Glasgow youngsters spend more time hanging out online rather than outdoors. Picture: John Devlin

Letting agents from across Scotland have voiced “deep concern” about measures in the Scottish Government’s Private Housing (Tenancies) Bill.

The legislation is aimed at improving security of tenure for tenants, but landlords are worried they will find it harder to tackle antisocial behaviour.

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If passed, the bill will introduce a new kind of agreement under which landlords will no longer be able to ask tenants to leave simply because a tenancy has reached its end date.

Instead, they must use one of 16 specified grounds for repossession, which include intending to sell or antisocial behaviour.

If a tenant does not leave after being given notice, the landlord will have to apply to a tribunal to have them evicted.

A total of 56 letting agents, representing the landlords of 16,620 properties, have signed a statement objecting to the plans.

It said: “By increasing the onus on neighbours or members of the community to intervene, the new legislation will drastically limit the ability of landlords or letting agents to take steps to end antisocial behaviour.”

John Blackwood, chief executive of the Scottish Association of Landlords, said: “The people often most affected by antisocial behaviour are those in vulnerable groups such as older people who could feel threatened by a neighbour.”

The signatories urged the Scottish Government to revise its plans to “remove the right of a landlord to allow a tenancy to come to a natural end”.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The new Private Housing (Tenancies) Bill provides new grounds to evict tenants that engage in antisocial behaviour or have a relevant criminal conviction, so landlords will be able to use this to deal with antisocial behaviour if necessary.

“Landlords are also able to include a range of evidence in their application to the tribunal, including their own testimony and from the police.

“The bill will introduce a modern tenancy to make it a more professionally managed and better regulated sector that provides good quality homes and is attractive to those who want to live, work and invest in it.”