Scotland’s minister for tenant’s rights is oblivious to the havoc he’s wreaking in the PRS and the harm being caused to tenants, says Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser.
He has blasted Patrick Harvie’s recent decision to extend a 3% rent cap for private tenants until next March, with a view to a new system of rent controls being introduced soon afterwards.
Writing in The Scotsman, Fraser says it’s the outcome of a series of policy interventions from an SNP-Green administration which has no understanding of how the private rental sector operates, or the basic laws of economics.
He points to rents rising faster in Scotland than in any other part of the UK and a subsequent reduction in the supply of available properties, meaning that demand significantly outstrips it.
Meanwhile, landlords have made up 12% of property sales so far this year in the country, the highest proportion since records began in 2009, and up a third from 9% in 2022.
“The solution is a simple one, and that is to make available more properties for rent, not fewer,” explains Fraser.
"We should be actively encouraging investment in the private rental market, not least by financial institutions. And yet what we have seen, as a direct result of the rent cap, is the loss of developments which would provide new homes.”
He points to news that a £200 million residential development in Glasgow City, which would provide 1,500 homes, was dropped by developers Get Living due to uncertainty about potential future returns.
“This was a specific, and inevitable, consequence of Scottish government policy that drives rents up,” adds Fraser.