The Scottish government is being encouraged to acknowledge that some landlords north of the border are breaking the law by letting property and declaring them to be holiday lets to avoid long term tenancy rights.
David Alexander, joint managing director of Apropos, wants to see the Scottish government acknowledge tenants’ rights for tenure, even when landlords and letting agents use holiday lets as the basis for their renting agreement with a view to shirking many of the tenants’ rights for tenure.
As many of you will know, tenants’ rights become legally binding if the property they occupy is their principal place of residence regardless of the contract which was signed at the start of the tenancy, and Alexander wants the Scottish government to publically recognise this fact.
He said: “Many landlords and agents see holiday lets as a means of letting properties whilst ignoring the recent legislative changes in Scotland on the rights of the tenant. However, this is incorrect as tenants’ rights apply if it can be shown that the property is being used as a home, rather than for short term holiday purposes.
“Even if no contract is signed, the tenancy automatically defaults to a Private Residential Tenancy Agreement if both parties have knowingly entered into a long term, residential arrangement.
“The only area of ambiguity comes in the definition of what is a holiday let and whether the tenant and landlord, at the time of letting, believes this will be the tenants’ home or simply a temporary place to live for a limited period.”
Alexander insists that there is no legal loophole being exploited as the law already protects tenants in these circumstances.
He continued: “If they live in a property which is advertised as a holiday let, but it is viewed as their permanent residence then they have the same rights as any long-term tenant.”
Alexander added: “It is very disappointing that many landlords and agents still believe that providing stronger rights for tenants is a bad thing.
“Landlords and agents must realise that they are providing a home and you need to treat people as you would anyone in their home.
“Greater clarity on letting lengths would be useful to define what is a holiday let but clearly there are not many people booking a holiday home for six or even three months, especially if they have no other address, so the law should regard these lettings as the home of the tenant and protect their rights accordingly.”