A new strategy for the private rented sector is to be published by the Scottish government before Christmas, its new housing minister Patrick Harvie has told a meeting of landlords convened in Glasgow by MyDeposits Scotland.

He made the comments during a panel debate about the expectation that ‘change is coming’ for landlords and letting agents in Scotland following a power-sharing deal signed between the Green Party and the SNP in August.

This saw Harvie, who is a Green MSP, given a newly-created title of Minister for Tenants’ Rights and the job of shaking up Scotland’s private and social rented sectors.

He told agents and landlords who attended the gathering today that the new strategy would focus initially on more ‘wellbeing’ changes for tenants such as the right to personalise homes and keep pets, before moving onto meatier matters around affordability.

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Rent controls

Although he didn’t refer to it directly, this is widely expected to usher in rent controls that will cap rent rises in ‘pressure zones’ and be reviewed on a five-yearly basis.

Three months ago trade body Propertymark warned Harvie that his rent control proposals would be ‘catastrophic‘.

“We want to get to a position where the human right to adequate housing is met for everybody because it’s not being met now,” he said.

“Some of the questions around how we emerge from the pandemic and which measures should be kept for the longer term are the more high level questions that we are keen to consult on, particularly concerning affordability.”

Other measures that some landlords fear include some of the evictions restrictions introduce during the pandemic, particularly longer notice periods, as well as an annual ‘winter’ evictions ban, a measure that has already been retained to a degree in England.

Other speakers at the event include Paul Shamplina, who led the debates and spoke about evictions, as well as John Blackwood, CEO of the Scottish Landlords Association, portfolio landlord and estate agent Jim Parker and leading letting agent Richard Cook.

When the renting reforms are revealed next month, they will soon be followed the English government’s own much-lauded reforms of its rental sectors.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Since when in a free market economy can it be that a user determines what price they pay to use the private assets of a LL!?

    Rent controls will just cause LL to sell up.

    Pretty pointless having controlled rents but no LL to rent from!

    LL are in the game to make profit.

    NOT to provide affordable rental accommodation.

    That is for Councils to provide.

    Restricting ability of LL to make PROFIT will simply result in LL exiting the PRS

    Rent controls also have price reducing capacity as lenders will only offer BTL mortgages based on the controlled rent levels.

    That means any LL with a property in a rent control area will only be able to sell for market value to OO.

    When it comes to mortgage valuers they will take note of comparables.

    Properties in rent controlled areas will reduce in price as controlled rents won’t support the BTL mortgages currently achievable.
    It is mortgage credit that supports property prices.

    Any LL in a rent controlled area would do well to sell up ASAP.

    If they don’t they face problems achieving full market value.

    Plus for OO in rent control areas they will also suffer property devaluation as mortgage valuers will consider BTL comparable sale prices.

    There are and will be many unintended consequences of rent control zones.

    None of them good.

    As has been stated rent controls are the worst to damage a city beyond that of bombing it!

    • When will Governments realise it is their responsibility to provide social housing to those that can’t afford the PRS or to buy. Housing policy is in a mess and Governments are just tinkering with any policy that won’t involve Governemnt money – wait til they have hundreds of homeless camping outside MP’s homes.

  2. Minister for Tenants’ Rights!!!!! Unbelievable. Political posturing at it’s best. I hope Paul Champlina and crew get this kicked into touch – I know it’s wishful thinking though.

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