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Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016

Chapter 1 – Restrictions in relation to rent and other charges

36.Section 19(1) provides that the rent payable under a private residential tenancy may not be increased more than once in a 12 month period. Accordingly, there is no restriction upon when the first increase may take place (subject to giving the necessary notice and any appeal) but there will always be a minimum of 12 months between increases. Subsection (2) provides that where a tenant has made a referral to a rent officer for rent adjudication, the 12 month period is to be regarded as commencing on the date on which the rent would have been increased had the adjudication process not been invoked (which will usually be the date specified in the landlord’s rent-increase notice, but see section 22(4)). This means that an annual cycle of rent reviews is not disrupted by a delay in an appeal being processed.

37.Section 20 makes it an offence to charge or receive any premiums or to require the making of any loan as a condition of the grant, renewal or continuance of a private residential tenancy. Restrictions are also placed on the sums which can be charged when a tenancy is assigned. Any charge made in breach of these rules is recoverable by the tenant. A “premium” means any sum or pecuniary consideration other than the rent and a refundable deposit (not exceeding two months’ rent), and includes any fine or administration fee.

38.Section 20 also prohibits rent being charged before the beginning of the rental period to which it relates – or, if rent is payable less frequently than once every six months, a more restrictive bespoke rule applies. The effect of the prohibition in section 20 is that, for example, a tenant who pays rent in advance on a month-to-month basis cannot be required to pay more than one month’s rent at a time, and nor can the tenant be obliged to pay the first month’s rent before the lease commences. Where a tenant has been required to pay advance rent, the sum is recoverable by the tenant provided that he or she exercises the right of recovery within two years of the payment.

39.Section 21 provides that where a debt for a rent payment or a rent liability exists, a landlord can only take debt recovery steps (in the form of carrying out diligence) against the tenant or former tenant where the Tribunal has first given its consent. A rent liability is a liability which has arisen under section 31 as a result of the tenant’s rent being increased following a process of rent adjudication.

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Text created by the Scottish Government to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Acts of the Scottish Parliament except those which result from Budget Bills.


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