Public back landlords’ campaign for better enforcement of PRS laws

John Blackwood
John Blackwood

An overwhelming majority of Scottish people believe councils should do more to enforce laws which protect the safety of tenants in the Private Rented Sector (PRS), supporting a growing campaign by Scottish landlords who believe enforcement is critical to driving rogue players out of the market.

According to a new online poll commissioned by the Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL), 69 per cent of Scottish people believe councils should do more to enforce existing laws governing the PRS, such as ensuring the landlord register is maintained in line with legislation, electrical and gas safety checks are completed, and deposits are properly registered with a Scottish Government approved tenancy deposit scheme.

The PRS has been subject to a succession of new laws over the past decade to improve the standard of rented properties, most of them with the full support of landlords, but SAL believes that the stream of new rules has not been matched with an effective programme of enforcement, rendering many of them ineffective.

This means that responsible landlords, which are the overwhelming majority of the sector, who fully comply with all laws and regulations and maintain properties to a high standard, could be driven out of the market by rogue or criminal players who are able to undercut on price by not fulfilling the same responsibilities.

John Blackwood, chief executive of SAL, said: “The lack of proper enforcement of existing laws and regulations is creating a two-tier system. A first-tier of the overwhelming majority of landlords who act responsibly and a second-tier of a small number of criminals who rent out unsafe properties, often to the most vulnerable people in society who deserve to be protected.

“We know council budgets are under pressure but we believe that simply by better communication and link-up between different departments within local authorities, along with increased awareness, enforcement would be more effective.

“SAL is keen to work with partners and key stakeholders to improve education of landlords and tenants about exactly what their rights and responsibilities are and we will work with the authorities to ensure criminal landlords cannot rent out properties. If we can achieve that, we will see a more effective PRS in Scotland which protects tenants and continues to provide the high-quality rented housing which is needed across Scotland.”

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