By Craig Smith
As our office is based in the Midlands (England) it isn’t very often that we have the need to report on a change in Scottish legislation. The 2 countries may be very similar but they don’t share all of the same laws and regulations when it comes to lettings.
New TIP Packs
Under the Private Rented Housing (Scotland) Act 2011 any Landlord inScotlandwill soon have to provide each new tenant with a Tenant Information Pack (TIP). This may be new toScotlandbut may I just point out that Castle Estates have been producing these packs for almost 10 years! It has changed over the years to cover the ever changing legislation and changed layout once or twice but has remained generally the same.
Why So Long?
The Scottish equivalent could be up to 30 pages long with various information about the property and its necessary legal requirements but our fits neatly enough into 5 pages and covers, we feel, all of the general information a tenant might need. It is our general practice to go through this with every tenant at the check in to ensure that they understand their rights & responsibilities before they sign any tenancy agreement.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for making sure that everyone knows exactly what is expected of them but being perfectly honest, I don’t know how many people actually take the time to read it during their tenancy or remember most of what it means. Which only begs the question, what is the point in having a compulsory version that is 6 times as long?!
Waste of Effort?
If the government stopped and thought realistically for a moment, they might share the same viewpoint. Maybe this will just be yet another stack of paper wasted and extra money down the drain for no reason?
The same has happened in relation to deposit protection (uh oh, here we go again with deposits!). We now need to ensure that the terms & conditions for the relevant deposit scheme are provided to each tenant at the start of their tenancy. This is just over 10 pages of information which seems to end up in the bottom of a drawer or at the back of a cabinet.
Good Idea or Bad?
In general, I do think it is a good idea to have certain information for tenants although some of it may just be overkill and could be found with 2 minutes searching on the internet. I guess we’ll have to see if this becomes law in England and Wales too and how well it goes in Scotland!