BREAKING – Members of the Scottish Parliament voted Wednesday agreeing to the “general principles” behind a Private Tenancies Bill – the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Bill which was undergoing its Stage 1 debate in the Holyrood Parliament.
Housing minister Margaret Burgess opening the debate said that the main purpose of the bill was to create a private residential tenancy which gives “improved stability and rent predictability”, with at the same time, proper safeguards for landlords and investors.
The minister said there is an increase need of housing supply and the government is committed to that, but that the Private Housing Bill is “about security for people in the private sector and about rebalancing the relationship between tenants and landlords.”
The minister claimed that the Scottish Government has “carefully developed a proposal for an open ended tenancy that will apply to all tenants in the sector,” where landlords “will still be able to advertise their property well in advance if a tenant has given notice.”
The Parliament’s infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee has backed the bill in principle, but has a number of recommendations it claims will improve the bill. The minister added that she cannot determine when this legislation will begin if it is passed.
Mr Jim Eadie the committee convener said that the no fault ground will be removed. This will mean that landlords will have to provide and prove one or more of 16 reasons in the bill before they will be able to end a tenancy. This process will involve the First Tier Tribunal, which will preside over evictions and ensure tenants have a proper tenancy agreement as well as hearing complaints about unfair evictions.
Scottish Conservative MSP Alex Johnstone, who did not support the bill, though he said the Conservatives may back it if presented in the right form, said there was a perception that rents are rising in Scotland, when in reality they are stable. He thought the bill would result in tenants whose rents had not been rising would see an annual rise as a result of the bill.
Lib Dem MSP Jim Hume warned introducing rent controls could actually see an increase in rent costs.
John Blackwood, chief executive of the Scottish Association of Landlords commenting on this first debate said:
“Like all political parties, housing charities and tenants groups, landlords and letting agents believe there is a need for a modern tenancy regime in Scotland which is easily understood by all and reflects the changing needs of society and is able to provide both the flexibility and high standards of service which people rightly expect.