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OUT OF TOUCH? Minister claims landlords 'support rent controls'

Paul McLennan rent controls

Scotland’s new housing minister Paul McLennan has surprised landlords by controversially claiming that the country’s private rented sector supports rent controls.

Despite concerted opposition from investors - and ONS figures - pointing to the highest rent increases of any UK nation - 10.9% - following its rent cap policy, McLennan was bullish when speaking on the Scottish Housing News podcast.

When asked if he was still committed to introducing longer-term rent controls in the Housing (Scotland) Bill, he said his department was currently engaging with stakeholders.

Rent controls

“I think it’s safe to say, you know, the PRS sector itself or institutional investors aren’t against rent controls per se, it’s more what are the details behind that,” the minister added. “So, we’re in the details with them just now.”

McLennan acknowledged there had to be a balance by getting investment into the sector to make sure more houses were being built and to generate more capacity in future. He didn’t address the issue of landlords being driven out of the market as a result of the policy and refuted suggestions that it would be watered down.

The Scottish Association of Landlords doesn’t agree with the principle of rent control and believes it will further harm investment in a PRS already damaged by ineffective short-term policy decisions and dangerous rhetoric.

Chief executive John Blackwood (pictured) tells LandlordZONE: “Today I was giving evidence in the Scottish Parliament and along with other private rented sector housing stakeholders, we pointed out the unintended consequences of rent control measures and how investors are leaving the sector and no longer see Scotland as an attractive investment option.

"We look forward to working with the housing minister, ensuring that any measures that are brought in are proportionate and do not deter much needed investment in homes to rent in Scotland.”

Until May McLennan's role was taken by Green MSP Patrick Harvie, who lost his job after the SNP/Green power sharing deal collapsed.


Rent controls