If anyone is looking for some light reading about residential leasing in Scotland, there is a new book on the market that could be just the ticket.
The fourth edition of Residential Tenancies: Private and Social Renting in Scotland, by Peter Robson, Professor of Social Welfare Law at the University of Strathclyde, and, eh, me was published by W. Green last month. (I was waiting until I had the physical copy in my hands before blogging about it. Now that I know it really exists, it feels okay for this blog post to exist too.)
It is a bit surreal to be a co-author of this textbook. Without being big-headed, it is a central reference point for anyone dealing with landlord or tenant matters where the rented property is someone’s home. Fortunately, I know I am not being big-headed. This is because I can confidently state I had nothing whatsoever to do with establishing its reputation. To explain, this is the first part of the surreality that emerges for me. I have a severe dose of imposter syndrome. There are many great lawyers and commentators working in this field already, and I was very lucky to have been asked on board to be part of the writing team for this book by such a person. The second part of the surreality is that I used an earlier edition of this textbook when I was an undergraduate student at the University of Strathclyde, and I still can’t quite get over the LOOOOOOK THERE’S ME ON THE COVER thing that I’ve got going on at the moment. Granted, not many people will care quite so much about this book or indeed any Scots law book, so please just take my word for it.
Anyway, away from that personal story, why does the new edition of this book matter? Here is my attempt at explaining matters in less than 500 pages.
Residential lets in Scotland have been heavily regulated by law for some time. Matters have been further reformed by the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016, which introduced a new and, to some, rather revolutionary form of residential tenancy in the private rented sector. (A private residential tenancy – or “PRT” – gives a tenant the right to stay in a rented property in most circumstances – “security of tenure” – from day one of the tenancy, meaning that the landlord cannot recover possession at the end of any given length of occupation where the tenant is behaving and paying rent when it falls due. There is of course more to it than that, but I’m trying to keep this short.) The new textbook is fully updated to reflect this regime, and also takes in the transfer of jurisdiction for leases in the private rented sector from the Sheriff Court to the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber). This is an important change in terms of the accessibility of a dispute resolution forum, and could also be important in terms of the dynamic of cases being dealt with; it’s just that we won’t know just how important this will be for a while. Away from these private rented sector reforms, we also report on relevant updates in the social rented sector (which are less profound, but there are a few).
The book is published by W. Green. A bajillion thank yous to the team there for all their efforts and patience.
If this has whetted your appetite, further information is available on the publisher’s website.