Lousy Landlords! 1st Jun 2016

Recent research by Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) revealed that in 2015, more than 6000 tenants complained about lousy landlords. The organisation dealt with the equivalent of 24 calls per day from private renters reporting problems with landlords and poor housing conditions. This is a worrying increase of 23% in the last 2 years, with complaints ranging from landlords not carrying out basic repairs, to landlords bullying and intimidating tenants.

Shelter Scotland also claims to have dealt with over 5000 calls from private renters between February 2015 and February 2016. Shelter Scotland director Graeme Brown, said: “All too often we hear of people living in disrepair, being evicted or rents increasing unreasonably, forcing families and individuals into the disruptive cycle of having to move house – every six months in some cases – preventing them from ever being able to put down strong roots and being part of a community. We want private renters to have the right and access to good quality, long-term homes, not just short-term housing.”

Sadly there are a minority of bad landlords who are bringing the reputation of the Private Rented Sector (PRS) down. Whilst landlords may find recent and forthcoming changes to regulations an expensive headache, they really should be welcomed as the end result will be the driving up of standards up within the sector.

CAS acknowledges that whilst the majority of landlords are responsible and reactive when it comes to looking after their property and their tenants, there are a minority who are not. Patrick Hogan, CAS Policy Officer says that CAS regularly deal with incidents of poor quality housing, dampness and condensation, poor electrical wiring and unsafe appliances. CAS are calling for increased monitoring of the PRS and also urged tenants to make sure they know their rights.

There are already laws in place to ensure landlords meet their duty to maintain their property to an acceptable standard. The Repairing Standard, contained in the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006, covers the legal and contractual obligations of private landlords to ensure that a property meets a minimum physical standard. There are serious penalties for non-compliance which can include cessation of rent and even criminal charges being brought. Increasingly, local authorities are becoming tougher and are exerting their powers, cracking down on rogue landlords.

The Key Place inspects all fully managed properties at regular intervals and provides feedback in the form of inspection reports to our landlords. These reports highlight essential repairs, along with longer term recommendations for improving the property. We urge landlords to invest in their rental properties, which is arguably one of their biggest assets, in order to protect it.