The Scottish government’s PRS reform consultation does not give landlords and agents the ability to get their views across, according to the boss of automated rental payment firm PayProp UK.
Its A New Deal for Tenants: Rented Sector Reform is exploring ways to introduce rent controls, delay evictions and allow tenants to have pets.
But Neil Cobbold (pictured) believes that it’s not fit for purpose. “It imposes choices on respondents, effectively forcing them to adopt one of the prescribed options, even if they have reservations or alternative ideas to propose,” he says.
Cobbold says if landlords are restricted by how much they can raise rents outside tenancies, this could encourage them to automatically apply the biggest rent increase they can during tenancies, raising rents for a greater number of tenants annually.
The Scottish government is also considering a rent control exemption for build-to-rent providers, admitting that “some investors may see rent control as a deterrent to investment”.
Cobbold believes this will be perceived as unfair, as it could mean private landlords are restricted in how much they can raise rents, while large-scale corporate property owners would be allowed to increase rents as they see fit.
While individuals are encouraged to respond to the consultation, which closes on 27th October, speaking to their MSP will be key, advises Cobbold. “Ultimately, no matter what the overall response to the consultation is, it will be your MSP that will scrutinise, amend and ultimately vote on these measures,” he adds.
Cobbold quizzed housing minister Rachel Maclean at the Conservative party conference, which resulted in her confirmation that a proposed housing court for landlords to help speed-up the evictions process was ‘definitely off the table’.