Investors are losing confidence in the Scottish PRS, while rent caps, coupled with increased construction costs, are halting mid-market rental home developments, and timescales dissuade landlords from making eviction applications, according to one property solicitor.
Duncan Bauchop (pictured) at Turcan Connell says barriers for landlords go beyond the government’s extension of its Cost-of-Living emergency provisions to 31st March. Until then, subject to limited exceptions, rent increases are capped at 3% for any 12-month period and enforcement of evictions will continue to be paused for most tenants.
Writing in The Scotsman, Bauchop says that according to Scottish Ministers’ proposal paper, only 280 of 630 eviction cases lodged between September 2022 and May 2023 had been decided by June. “The First-tier Tribunal, with its high case load, has an unenviable task. However, if a tenant is not paying rent or is damaging a property, a landlord cannot afford to wait, sometimes in excess of eight months to obtain an order for possession. Depending on the grounds, they may then have to wait up to a further six months to enforce it.”
While landlords, albeit anecdotally, were concerned about the supply of housing, ministers have claimed this is not reflected in the number of registered landlords, which has remained steady. However, as they concede, registrations last for three years, says Bauchop, so there can be a lag between a landlord leaving the sector and de-registering a property. The process, between recovering possession and completing a sale, takes at least several months.
“Not all landlords are institutional investors with an extensive property portfolio,” he adds. “They also include individuals with young families, using rental income from their previous flat to pay the mortgage on their new family home or the elderly, renting out their former home to pay for care home fees.”