A New Deal for Tenants in Scotland consultation

A Draft Rented Sector Strategy has been published by the Scottish Government, setting out how they will work with landlords and tenants to provide accessible and affordable homes.

A New Deal for Tenants

Forming part of the Housing 2040 Strategy, the consultation: A New Deal for Tenants aims to improve the security of tenure, tackle affordability and strengthen tenants’ rights to improve standards and fairness in the rented sector. 

Inviting views on how the Scottish Government can deliver a new deal for tenants to progress the right to an adequate home and deliver their vision, it aims to ensure all tenants can access secure, stable, tenancies, with affordable choices – whilst also benefiting from good quality of homes and professional levels of service and rights.

Rented Sector Strategy key actions

A Housing Bill will be introduced to bring forward necessary legislation to deliver the Strategy’s objectives, while a Housing Regulator will be established to oversee enforcement. Full details of the key actions intended are:

  • delivering a new deal for private rented sector tenants that puts them on a more equal footing with social rented tenants, through the introduction of a new Housing Bill in the second year of this Parliament
  • establishing a regulator for the private rented sector that will enforce defined standards and considering the role of the existing Regulator covering social rented housing - through legislation by the end of this Parliament
  • implementing a national system of rent controls for the private rented sector, whilst exploring what further action we can take to ensure rents in the social rented sector is affordable by the end of 2025
  • creating a new Housing Standard covering all homes
  • regulating to set minimum standards for energy efficiency and zero emissions heating

Grounds for repossession

Another area of the Strategy is to seek views on the existing grounds for repossession and set out proposed action to deter landlords from undertaking illegal evictions by increasing penalties and compensation for tenants. 

Rent controls

Proposals for a national system of rent control are included, which would be implemented by 2025, with the aim of making rents more affordable and result in tenants being less likely to be 'priced out' of housing due to rent increases. The Strategy seeks views on the principle of rent control, with detailed proposals for such a system to be consulted upon separately.

Propertymark consultations

Propertymark will be responding to the consultation and we are keen to hear the views of members too, which can be emailed to our Policy Team at [email protected].

The closing date of the consultation is 15 April 2022.

Whilst we support the right to an adequate home and the Scottish Government’s commitment to elevate standards and quality in the private rented sector, we fear the policies outlined in the Draft Rented Sector Strategy will have unintended consequences and ultimately be detrimental to tenants unless there is a balance with landlords’ rights.

We have real concerns that the proposed system of rent controls will undermine the viability of the private rented sector and do nothing to tackle the perceived affordability issues, while further regulatory burdens will inevitably continue to force landlords to exit the market. 

If the Scottish Government wants to ensure a healthy supply of good quality, affordable and secure homes, it must recognise the value and significance of the private rented sector and actively encourage more investors to provide homes. Only by increasing and sustaining investment in the sector can it achieve its aims, and the Strategy as drafted falls far short of providing the certainties and incentives that are needed.

Daryl McIntosh Policy Manager | Propertymark