Proposed Changes to the Private Rented Sector 1st Apr 2015

The Scottish Government’s proposals on rent controls, which include the removal of the no-fault ground for re-gaining possession and the removal of the ability to continue tenancies on a month to month basis, have caused controversy amongst those within the private rented sector.

The main problem with the introduction of rent controls is that it does not address the actual problem, which is a shortage in the supply of rented housing. Capping rents will not solve this problem, and is only likely to discourage investment in the sector, thus reducing the supply.

The removal of the no-fault ground for re-gaining possession and the removal of the ability to continue tenancies on a month to month basis will also only serve to undermine confidence in the private rented sector (PRS). Current flexible arrangements suit both landlords and tenants. Landlords need to be confident that they can end a tenancy when necessary, especially if things are going wrong.

Overall, none of us are very good with change, as it leads to uncertainty. However, there is no doubt that some updating is required to the way in which tenancies operate. We are at a point in time where attitudes to renting have changed, and rental has become a necessity for many. As a result there is an acute shortage of accommodation, and so to frighten off current landlords and discourage buy-to-let investors from investing in much needed housing, will only damage things further.

Bodies such as the Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL), along with the Council of Letting Agents (CLA) have been campaigning to ensure fairness within the PRS. A recent poll by SAL revealed that 78% of respondents valued a well-functioning PRS. Furthermore, it stated that 43% of private tenants had difficulty in finding accommodation over the last 5 years.

The Key Place has been involved in the consultations that have taken place, and will keep you updated in future newsletters.

We believe that we should all be pulling together to encourage investment in the private rented sector, to be able to provide much needed housing throughout Scotland.