Blog: Tarring all landlords as rogues is unfair and counter-productive

Dan Cookson
Dan Cookson

Dan Cookson responds to Govan Law Centre principal solicitor Mike Dailly’s suggestion that an unequal relationship between tenants and landlords means many of the former are leading lives of misery.

Mike Dailly (read his blog here) once again employs sweeping generalisation to demonise the private rented sector (PRS) when an evidence-based approach would be preferable.

It is just wrong to claim that there is “no regulation” in the PRS and that registration schemes “have no resources or effective powers”. With only 25 referrals to the procurator fiscal under the Landlord Registration Scheme in the last half decade, it’s not that powers don’t exist. Rather they aren’t promoted or used, despite being funded by responsible registered landlords to the tune of more than £20m.

It might suit campaigners to paint a selective, distorted picture of the PRS and demand punitive legislation but this will do nothing but help deter what vulnerable tenants need the most: a supply of housing that meets the demand placed on it by Scotland’s growing private tenant population. Indeed, a new report by the Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research found that 40 per cent of landlords in London would look to take homes out of the rental market if faced with rent controls broadly similar to those proposed for “hot spot areas” in the Scottish Government’s Private Rented (Housing) Bill. That figure was as high as 85 per cent under more punitive examples of rent control.

That’s why Scotland’s legislative approach to the PRS sector that serves 670,000 private tenants must be informed and underpinned by reasoned research and detailed evidence that provides protection while encouraging supply. Tarring all landlords as rogues is not only unfair, but counter to Scotland’s common interest.

  • Dan Cookson, head of research at Lettingweb, writing on behalf of PRS 4 Scotland. This article first appeared in The Herald.

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