Private Tenancies Bill ‘lacks grounds to provide homes for employees’

Katy Dickson
Katy Dickson

Housing minister Margaret Burgess has been urged to think again over a lack of grounds to provide homes for employees in the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Bill.

Scottish Land & Estates said the need for legislation to allow landlords to gain possession of a vacant property in order to accommodate a new employee is “fundamental to rural businesses”.

The issue was raised by Highland MSP Dave Stewart and North East MSP Alex Johnstone during last week’s stage 1 debate of the bill in the Scottish Parliament.

Katy Dickson, policy officer at Scottish Land & Estates, said: “This ground is fundamental to rural businesses and the impact will be that the business cannot expand, or homes will be taken out of the rental market and either left empty or used as holiday housing in order to create a flexible housing option.

“This is not what the sector needs and it was disappointing to hear housing minister Margaret Burgess reply that she was not convinced this ground was necessary although we welcome her intention to continue working with stakeholders. The new tenancy regime is a real opportunity to get the balance right. The Scottish Government has used this term frequently yet continues to fail to recognise the damage to the sector, and all those who rely on it. In particular, the minister’s approach will be at odds with the Scottish Government’s sustainable development objective – this is one of many mixed messages being sent to businesses, especially those in rural areas.

“Now that the principle of the bill has been approved by Parliament all those with housing interests must work together at stage 2 of the parliamentary process to ensure the detail of the bill successfully achieves its potential and delivers for the sector.”

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