Scottish landlords welcome political support for stronger enforcement

John Blackwood

Scotland’s largest landlord membership organisation has welcomed broad political support for stronger enforcement of rules governing landlords and letting agents operating in the private rented sector to allow a better service for tenants.

Scottish Conservative MSP, Graham Simpson, backed a call by the Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL) to urge letting agents, landlords and tenants to report non-compliance and call on the Scottish Government and others to act quickly to educate and punish transgressors.

The support from Mr Simpson came during a speech at National Landlord Day, the largest landlord conference in the UK, which is taking place in Edinburgh today.

SAL has been pushing for additional regulation to professionalise and improve standards for tenants in the private sector. These include legislation requiring that all new tenancy agreements follow a strict wording and structure to make them easier to understand and new rules requiring all letting agents to be listed on a Scottish Government register.

However, SAL believes these new rules and regulations are only effective if those working within the sector and their customers are educated, and if the rules are effectively enforced. SAL is concerned that if the regulations are not enforced it will give free rein to criminal or rogue agents to provide sub-standard accommodation and a poor service to tenants, whilst driving responsible, ethical and professional agents out of the sector.

SAL said National Landlord Day is just one way in which it is attempting to improve education and information within the sector, with 550 people and 40 exhibitors gathering to discuss the latest developments and innovations to improve services and standards for tenants. SAL also offers significant support to members via a helpline, extensive online assets compliant with the most recent regulations and regular meetings with branches around the country to discuss the latest developments and answer questions.

Speaking at National Landlord Day, John Blackwood, chief executive of the Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL), will say: “Increased professionalisation and stronger, more effective regulation of private renting in Scotland is something SAL has been working hard towards for many years. That has included campaigns for clearer tenancy agreements, regulation of letting agents, better energy efficiency and effective fire safety. I am delighted that the importance of the effective enforcement of those rules has been supported by Graham Simpson MSP today, as it has been by other MSPs in the past.

“We are seeing another highly successful National Landlord Day today as professional landlords, agents and others involved in the sector come together to discuss how we can deliver the best possible service and standards for tenants. We want to work collaboratively with any group, be that tenants, charities or politicians to achieve that goal.”

Graham Simpson MSP added: “We have seen many positive changes in the private rented sector over recent years. However, there is a prevailing problem of enforcement on many issues, which can be costly to landlords and tenants alike.

“Whilst we need to increase housing supply this will not be a panacea. As the private rented sector looks likely to continue to increase as a sector we must ensure the teething problems we are experiencing are ironed out.

“We are seeing an increase in vulnerable tenants in the private sector and it is vital that these people are protected from rogue operators and can be assured of a safe and comfortable place to call home.”

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