Black’s Blog: PRS uncertainty benefits no-one

Black’s Blog: PRS uncertainty benefits no-one

After recording an episode of the Scottish Housing News Podcast on the subject of the proposed rent adjudication scheme for the private rented sector, Jimmy Black shares his own experiences.

Long ago I lived in a “bed & breakfast” flat in Glasgow. It was a landlord scam to avoid rent controls and the chances of actually reaching breakfast in time were slim. Then I lived in a very upmarket room and kitchen in Hyndland, broke a door after some horseplay and managed to disguise the fact by making it look as though no door had ever been there. (Not entirely happy with myself about that).

Next flat was a shared room in Clouston Street, where the landlady tried to evict me because I complained. I remember chasing a rat down the stairs and hoping it might find its way into the landlady’s flat. Her eviction letter was a classic of its kind (see below).

A relatively civilised flat in Roxburgh Street followed, sleeping under my flatmate in a bunk bed behind a screen in the living room, while my other flatmate slept in the kitchen under the stair.

We moved to the flat upstairs, and when we left, the landlord accused us of stealing his curtains. (we didn’t). Having said that, we liked the landlord, Harry Charalambous, who invited us to a reception and introduced me to dolmades.

None of my experiences were particularly awful and none of the flats I lived in then would be acceptable now, at least in the legitimate part of the private rented sector. Things may not be perfect, but surely they have improved.

There are regulations about safety, rents, security of tenure, local housing allowance, loads of things, and therein lies the problem. Professional landlords can cope with increased regulation, although they may not like it. Small-scale buy-to-letters struggle; most of Scotland’s landlords are small-scale.

I doubt if most of the regulations now being applied to the private rented sector worries developers who are interested in Building to Rent. They will do their business plans and take account of the costs they will face. What really puts them off, I suspect, is not knowing what the Scottish Government will do next when it comes to rent controls. On our latest episode of the Scottish Housing News Podcast, Susan Aktemel from Homes for Good makes some very interesting points about that.

Our other guest is Calum Sanderson from the Living Rent tenants’ union, who takes some quite different lines. He thinks rents should be linked to the property rather than the tenancy. So when one tenant leaves, the landlord would not be able to hike up the rent. You need to listen to the podcast to find out more.

This blog finally gives me the chance to share my Clouston Street landlady’s eviction letter with the world. Here it is … (and I, genuinely, deny all of it)


It has been reported to me that you have your stereo on past 11 o clock at night to the annoyance of other tenants in the house who have an early rise for work.

It has also been reported that you have on several occasions come home so DRUNK that you were unable to open the front door (and you have a key) with the result that the other occupants had to rise out of bed and let you in.

You are also using an electric kettle and stereo on light switches which has caused overloading and a fuse as a result.

The room is not being kept CLEAN and TIDY, as it was given to you on entry.

Under the circumstances, I consider it better if you seek accommodation elsewhere. As you are on a weekly basis I am giving you one week to move, namely 21st February ‘78.

Mrs S.M.Z

Happy days!

Further reading:

The Scottish Housing News Podcast is co-hosted by Kieran Findlay and Jimmy Black. All episodes are available here as well as on the following platforms:

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