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Landlords in Scotland 'feel like pariahs' amid political rhetoric

John Blackwood Scottish Association of Landlords

Red tape and hostility from Holyrood has caused some landlords to defer investments or take properties off the rental market, fuelling higher rents and a housing crisis.

The Scottish Association of Landlords says those renting out properties who have faced rent caps and eviction bans hear anti-landlord rhetoric from politicians that dissuades them from investing and makes them feel unwanted.

Chief executive John Blackwood tells The Telegraph that privately, Scottish politicians have said rentals were “part of the solution” but that messages sent out in public meant landlords were “hearing quite the opposite”.

Exiting sector

“We should actually actively be exiting the sector, not investing in the sector,” says Blackwood. “The anti-landlord rhetoric, all of that just adds up to a feeling that these landlord investors...think, ‘You know what, if nobody wants us to be doing it, I feel almost a pariah in society by renting out property in the first place, then actually maybe I should just go when I’ve got the opportunity’. And many are opting to do that.”

Despite imposing previous rent controls on the country’s private rental sector, ONS data reveals that long term rental prices surged by 6.8% in the 12 months leading up to January 2024, surpassing the previous rate of 6.3% in the 12 months to December 2023. Meanwhile, new analysis from Airbnb finds that short-term rental rules in Scotland are harming its tourism industry and haven’t immediately resulted in improved rental affordability.

New rights

The Scottish government recently published its Housing (Scotland) Bill, which includes plans to introduce long-term rent controls and grant tenants significant new rights, however, John Swinney, the new First Minister, has refused to say whether this would be taken forward.

A government spokesman says: “We will continue to engage with stakeholders from across the sector on delivering our commitment to introducing a longer-term system of rent controls, which will improve affordability for tenants while recognising the importance of landlords investing in property quality.”


scottish association of landlords
scottish rental reforms
Housing crisis