Landlords’ blanket bans to be tackled by Scottish and UK joint legislation
The Scottish and UK governments are collaborating on a legislative reform aiming to restrict landlords from excluding families, benefit recipients and pet owners from renting properties.
The proposed law follows a BBC investigation which revealed thousands of UK properties, available through private landlords and letting agents, excluded potential tenants with children or pets.
UK Housing Secretary, Michael Gove, highlighted the joint approach, emphasising that it would deliver a resolute message to housing providers. The initiative follows the introduction of the Renters (Reform) Bill at Westminster in May, which aims to prevent blanket bans on tenants with children or those receiving benefits. The bill also provides tenants with the right to request having a pet in the property, which landlords are obliged to consider without unreasonable refusal.
Discussions are underway to extend these elements to Scotland in a bid to further safeguard these groups. Mr Gove has extended the offer of a joint approach to Scottish Housing Minister, Paul McLennan, an initiative which the Scottish Government has welcomed.
However, a Scottish Government spokesperson emphasised the necessity for talks to “include a close examination of the UK government’s decision to freeze Local Housing Allowance rates at 2020 levels for the third year running”, describing affordability as a “significant barrier” to privately renting a home, the BBC reports.
The Scottish government has already enacted its own measures, such as rent increase caps at 3% and an eviction ban extension. It has also considered a housing sector regulatory strategy, akin to the one outlined in the UK legislation.