RICS Scotland ‘broadly welcomes’ Holyrood report into Private Tenancies Bill

Sarah Speirs
Sarah Speirs

A Parliamentary committee report which made recommendations aimed at improving the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Bill, has been welcomed by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) in Scotland.

The Stage 1 report by Scottish Parliament’s infrastructure and capital investment committee supported the general principles behind the bill but recommended that the Scottish Government gives further consideration to the balance between mandatory and discretionary grounds for the removal of a tenant and to look at options for allowing Purpose Built Student Accommodation to set tenancies for agreed terms.

The report also asked ministers to consider a longer period to repay rent arrears and whether penalties to deter landlords from terminating tenancies falsely are sufficient.

Finally MSPs recommended that suitable amendments are brought forward at Stage 2 to allow those in abusive relationships to leave a tenancy without facing financial penalties.

RICS Scotland director, Sarah Speirs, said it is imperative that the bill is given robust scrutiny because of the significant changes it could make to Scotland Private Rented Sector (PRS).

Ms Speirs said: “It is evident that the committee has undertaken significant engagement with stakeholders - from landlords, tenants, letting and agents and more - and this should applauded.

“The committee’s call to contemplate RICS in Scotland’s proposal to reconsider lets to students in relation to tourism - particularly in Edinburgh – is a welcome recommendation in the report. Indeed, RICS believes there should be further scoping and consultation exercises undertaken in conjunction with the tourism industry to assess the impact that this new tenancy regime may have on sector considering its importance to the economy.

“RICS in Scotland maintains that the proposed introduction of that Rent Pressure Zones (RPZs) could make Scotland uncompetitive when compared to the rest of the UK, and still has concerns due to the uncertainty that comes with potential rent rise caps. We are therefore pleased that the report requests more information from government on what the impact that RPZs might have on the PRS in Scotland – particularly in attracting much-needed institutional investment.

“Furthermore, the committee report recognises the need for housing supply to be increased across all tenures in Scotland, and this is great news. RICS concurs with the notion as the increased supply will play a significant role in establishing the much-coveted stabilising of rises in rents and house prices.”

RICS in Scotland will make a number of recommendations in its Scotland Manifesto 2016: Shaping Scotland’s Housing Future, which is being launched on 20 January 2016.

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