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'Rent rises must be allowed in Scotland or supply will dwindle more'

david alexander

A leading Scots letting agent has warned that unless the Scottish government amends its rent control plans to allow for future increases, the level of investment in the country’s PRS will continue to slide.

David Alexander, CEO of DJ Alexande, says although a statement by Housing minister Paul McLennan on the Scottish housing emergency contained warm words and talk of collaboration, it contained no detail on precisely how this was to be taken forward.

“There may well be more meetings and discussions planned but realistically we need to have action sooner rather than later,” he says.

Vital role

“Mr McLennan stated that his government is committed to ‘rent control measures that contribute to a private rented sector that works for tenants and responsible landlords and to investors’ and that he ‘believes that the private rented sector plays a vital role in addressing housing need’ but there are no actions to back this up other than details of further meetings and a call for a collaborative approach.”

McLennan told MSPs he would meet the Scottish Association of Landlords to discuss what its role will be in an ‘all-tenure approach’.

He said: “We will build on instances of successful joint working already in place. I urge landlords and other partners to continue to work together to explore what more can be done.”

Alexander adds: “The time for action is now rather than at some point in the future and everyone involved in the sector needs a detailed breakdown of changes to the Housing Scotland Bill and the Heating in Buildings Bill which will make investing in the private rented sector an attractive proposition in the future.”

A coalition of housing organisations, including Shelter and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, has warned they have no confidence in the Scottish government’s plans. In an open letter to First Minister John Swinney, they warned current strategies had been “fatally undermined” by spending cuts in recent budgets.

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Rent controls