Two leading industry organisations have made the claim, saying government is currently only offering single-unit landlords the loans at the moment.

Scotland’s rental sector is at risk of large-scale collapse unless larger portfolio landlords are offered help from the government’s loan scheme, say landlord and housing groups.

Landlords in the region can now apply for an interest-free loan with deferred payments if their tenants are having difficulty making payments because of the Covid-19 crisis.

The scheme covers 100% of the rental income from one property, however, the Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL) and Chartered Institute of Housing Scotland believe many tenants could be left without homes as struggling landlords exit the sector.

SAL chief executive John Blackwood says. “A small-scale landlord operates the same way as other SMEs, some of which may be entitled to government support for each of their separate outlets.

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Rent arrears

“We would ask for a similar position for landlords, even if this was on a sliding scale for additional properties and where the impact of rent arrears can be evidenced.”

He suggests that landlords with more than one property should be made to declare that their business doesn’t qualify for any of the other coronavirus support available, such as the job retention scheme, business grants, business rates holiday or self-employed support.

“This would quickly and easily achieve the same goal but ensure landlords who need support do not slip through the cracks,” says Blackwood.

He adds: “Debt worries will make landlords less likely to use this support, leading instead to them selling up and exiting the sector, reducing housing supply at a time when it is most needed.”

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