What is the issue?
The Scottish Government has announced its intention to bring forward a Private Tenancies Bill which will have a wide-reaching impact on the private rented sector (PRS) in Scotland. The bill follows on from the issues explored in the Scottish Government’s recent consultation on a new tenancy for the private sector.
The Private Tenancies Bill is intended to increase security of tenure for tenants while providing appropriate safeguards for landlords, lenders and investors. Specifically, the bill will:
- Introduce a Scottish Private Rented Tenancy to replace the current Assured system.
- Remove the ‘no-fault’ ground for repossession, meaning a landlord can no longer ask a tenant to leave simply because the fixed-term has ended.
- Provide comprehensive and robust grounds for repossession that will allow landlords to regain possession in specified circumstances.
- Provide more predictable rents and protection for tenants against excessive rent increases, including the ability to introduce local rent controls for rent pressure areas.
- Create a more streamlined, clearer to understand tenancy system that is fit for the modern private rented sector.
We believe that many of the Scottish Government’s proposals for a new PRS tenancy will enhance security and flexibility for both tenants and landlords and we want to build on that consensus. However the devil is in the detail and we are concerned that a number of the proposed measures, such as the introduction of rent controls and the removal of the ‘no-fault’ ground for repossession carry a significant risk of hindering investment in the sector, while dis-incentivising small and large landlords from participating and/or maintaining their properties to a high standard. The consequence of this will be a drying up of supply and a more limited choice for tenants, as well as depleting the quality of Scotland’s housing stock.
We are urging the Scottish Government to take fully into account the views of landlords and those operating in the PRS to ensure that the Private Tenancies Bill does not deliver reforms that risk undermining the future investment that Scotland’s PRS needs.
Instead, we are calling on policymakers to adopt a more strategic, wider reaching supply and tenure model appropriate for Scotland, which addresses the necessity for investment in rental properties as well as the needs of tenants across the income spectrum. With the policy tools available to us, we have the opportunity to create a distinct model for others to follow.
What we’re proposing: a new Scottish framework for housing supply and tenure.
Housing supply is the critical issue and only with healthy and appropriate supply levels to meet the demand, can Scotland build a PRS that meets the needs of households across the income spectrum. First and foremost, the issue of supply needs to be addressed