Scotland has launched plans for an overhaul of its rented sector that include a controversial system of rent controls.
Proposals also include increasing penalties for illegal evictions, restricting evictions during winter, giving tenants greater flexibility to keep pets, introducing a new Housing Standard and PRS regulator and setting minimum standards for energy efficiency.
The government’s new deal for tenants promises to deliver stronger rights and a fairer rented sector that welcomes responsible landlords.
Tenants’ Rights Minister Patrick Harvie (main pic) explains that the proposals will significantly improve the lives of Scotland’s tenants in both private and social housing, giving them more stability, more choice over where they live and how they decorate their homes, and the confidence that their home will be of high quality.
“At the same time, it will recognise the interests of good quality, responsible landlords,” says Harvie. “We will be working in partnership with landlords, letting agents, tenants and others to deliver this strategy, and we want to gather the broadest range of views.”
However, David Alexander (pictured), CEO of estate and letting agency DJ Alexander, believes rent controls have never worked anywhere and invariably lead to fewer properties on the market and more housing shortages.
“It is important to remember that landlords and property investors can go elsewhere,” he says.
“If the approach to resolving Scotland’s housing shortage is simply to attack one part of the sector, then there is every likelihood of failure. The alternative to inclusivity could lead to a shortage of housing and a consequent slowing of economic growth.”
The results of a government consultation – which closes on 15th April – will feed into the final version of the strategy to be published next year, with elements of the proposals put to the Scottish Parliament in a Housing Bill in 2023.
The rent control proposals set out reforms to the existing rent adjudication process, and the government will gather evidence to inform a future consultation specifically on these controls.