Success for Dundee’s Private Landlord Support Officer Project

Laura Fairlie is a Private Landlord Support Officer, working for Shelter Scotland within Dundee City Council
Laura Fairlie is a Private Landlord Support Officer, working for Shelter Scotland within Dundee City Council

A project which provides support to private landlords in Dundee is having a positive impact in its first year of operation, councillors will hear next week.

Dundee City Council’s community safety and public protection committee will hear on Monday that the Private Landlord Support Project is improving standards across the Private Rented Sector (PRS) by providing support that leads to more engaged and legislatively compliant landlords.

The local authority works with project managers Shelter Scotland which secured three years of funding from the Oak Foundation. The aim is to improve standards in the PRS and in particular to target those landlords who are inexperienced or unaware of the range of legislation affecting the sector.

In the first year alone 331 cases were dealt with, involving 600 hours of casework.

Community safety and public protection committee convener, Councillor Alan Ross, said: “It’s great to see this project doing so well, it enables us to work with landlords, tenants and intermediaries on better understanding of the sector and what would improve day to day practice by landlords.

“I’m pleased that the project has led to more engaged and legislatively compliant landlords in Dundee.

“We work closely with landlords, running regular seminars on areas of interest and providing other help and guidance on issues like repairs and maintenance.

“I would like to thank everyone who has been working on the project.”

James Battye, private renting project manager at Shelter Scotland, said: “We welcome the support of Dundee City Council in making this project a success for both tenants and landlords. What we have uncovered in the city and also in the Highlands where we have another pilot project is that hundreds of landlords aren’t aware of the rules that apply to them. If that’s true across Scotland there are thousands who aren’t complying with laws designed to protect tenants.”

There has been wide spread interest in the project, it was included as an example of good practice in the Scottish Government’s draft guidance for good local authorities on landlord registration, it was well received at the Shelter Scotland annual PRS conference, and Dundee Homefinders in devising a ‘Tenant Checklist’.

The project will continue to explore its strategy of engagement with landlords, with outreach to financial institutions such as banks offering BTL mortgages, Business Gateway and Chamber of Commerce planned.

Partners are committed until March 2018, with the possibility to extend their commitment.

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