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Claim: agents and landlords using holiday lettings are breaking the law

Agents and landlords in Scotland who are letting property and declaring them to be holiday lets to avoid long-term tenancy rights are breaking the law, according to Apropos.

Apropos, a bespoke portal designed and built by property management company DJ Alexander, said that many agents and landlords believe that using holiday lets as the basis for their renting agreement avoids many of the tenants’ rights for tenure – this, however, is untrue.

The portal claimed that tenants’ rights become legally binding if the property they occupy is their principle place of residence regardless of the tenancy agreement.

David Alexander, joint managing director of Apropos, commented: “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.”

He said that 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.

Alexander explained: “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.”

According to Alexander, there is no legal loophole being exploited as the law already protects tenants in these circumstances. For instance, if a tenant lives in a property which is advertised as a holiday let but is viewed as their permanent residence, then they have the same rights as any long-term tenant.

“It would appear that many tenants and some organisations are unaware that this is the case, but the right of the tenant remain firm regardless of the contract they have signed and agents and landlords who seek to avoid this legislation are misguided,” he continued.

“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,” Alexander concluded.

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