Don’t ‘demonise’ private rented sector, landlords warn

John Blackwood
John Blackwood

Landlords have urged the Scottish Government not to demonise the private rented sector and ensure that new legislation protects tenants’ rights without strangling investment.

With the Scottish Government expected to publish details this week of new legislation to reform the rental regime in the Private Rented Sector in Scotland, the Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL) has emphasised the need for balance between protecting tenants and ensuring landlords are encouraged to invest in property and help solve Scotland’s strategic housing crisis.

The Private Tenancies (Scotland) Bill is expected to include measures to restrict the ability of landlords to end a tenancy, as well as introduce a form of rent controls. Whilst welcoming the need to update the rental regime in the PRS, SAL are concerned that short-term populist measures could damage investment in the sector and damage the sustainability of the market without solving Scotland’s underlying housing crisis.

SAL is calling on the Scottish Government to work in partnership to implement the long-term strategy outlined in the report by the Commission on Housing and Wellbeing which included a range of measures which included involving private landlords in new-build programmes and attracting institutional investors to provide funds for new houses for the private rented sector, rather than just for house-buyers.

John Blackwood, chief executive of the Scottish Association of Landlords, said: “SAL supports the drive to increase standards in the private rented sector and agrees it is time for the rental regime to be modernised. However, measures such as heavy-handed rent control will only endanger investment and drive respected businesses out of the market, leaving the door wide open for rogue landlords and letting agents.

“As the recent report by the Commission on Health & Wellbeing made clear, the Private Rented Sector (PRS) has a key role to play in solving Scotland’s long-term housing crisis. As well as involving the PRS in new build developments, landlords could be encouraged to bring back into use empty homes and brownfield sites in urban areas.

“SAL hopes that the Scottish Government doesn’t become fixated with short-term political measures and demonise landlords but, instead, work with us to solve the larger problem of Scotland’s housing crisis.”

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