As reported by The National newspaper, a majority of Scottish people believe that councils should be doing more to enforce laws that protect tenants against rogue landlords. The safety of tenants in the Private Rented Sector (PRS) was highlighted according to a new poll.
Homelessness charities including Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) and Shelter Scotland claim that they have received thousands of complaints from tenants who suffer at the hands of rogue landlords.
Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) say they received more than 6,000 complaints last year, with evidence of multiple cases of landlords failing to meet their legal obligations, purportedly refusing to do basic repairs and bullying or intimidating their tenants.
CAS claims that this represents a rise of 23 per cent of such complaints over the previous two years – 24 cases every working day. Shelter Scotland says that although the private rented sector accounts for only 14 per cent of all households in Scotland, 42 per cent of calls to its helpline were complaints about landlords.
The results of these surveys only go to support a campaign by Scottish private landlords who have for some time been lobbying for more council support and law enforcement against rogue landlords. They believe the rogue operators should be brought to book as they are getting all landlords, including those who are responsible and doing an excellent job, a bad reputation.
According to the new online poll conducted by the Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL), 69 per cent of Scottish people believe councils should do more to enforce existing laws governing the private rented sector (PRS), such as ensuring the landlord register is maintained in line with legislation, electrical and gas safety checks are completed, and deposits are properly registered with a Scottish Government-approved tenancy deposit scheme.
A succession of new laws has been introduced by the Scottish Assembly over the past decade designed to improve the standard of rented properties, and most of these with the support of landlords, but SAL believes the new rules are not being properly enforced or matched with an effective programme of enforcement.
John Blackwood, chief executive of SAL has said:
“This means that responsible landlords, which are the overwhelming majority, who fully comply with all laws and regulations and maintain properties to a high standard, could be driven out of the market by rogue or criminal players.
“The lack of proper enforcement of existing laws and regulations is creating a two-tier system – a first tier of the overwhelming majority of landlords who act responsibly and a second tier of a small number of criminals who rent out unsafe properties, often to the most vulnerable people in society.
“We know council budgets are under pressure but we believe that simply by better communication and link-up between different departments within local authorities, along with increased awareness, enforcement would be more effective.
“SAL is keen to work with partners and key stakeholders to improve education of landlords and tenants about exactly what their rights and responsibilities are, and we will work with the authorities to ensure criminal landlords cannot rent out properties.”
Patrick Hogan the CAS housing spokesman has:
These figures provide a “shocking insight into the worst corners of the private rented sector.
“We are calling on local authorities and the Scottish Government to re-double their efforts to monitor the private rented sector and crack down on those who are giving it a bad name.”
The problem is on-going and not unique to Scotland. Here is a story which shows the problem is pretty universal.
Scottish Councils blamed for not protecting tenants https://t.co/fBtaJvWrZK
— LandlordZONE (@LandlordZONE) September 30, 2016