Building a better rental sector in Scotland

Propertymark hosted three sessions with members and the Scottish Government on aspects of the Draft Rented Sector Strategy consultation.

We looked at key themes of the proposals and provided a platform to voice concerns, to feed into Propertymark’s consultation response and remind the Scottish Government landlords are feeling the pressure of endless legislative changes. 

Rent controls

Patrick Harvie, MSP attended one of the sessions and heard a clear message from members that the best way to influence affordability is to get more homes into the private rented sector. Direct rent controls and other interventions proposed could have the unintended consequence of pushing landlords out of the sector, adding to the shortage of properties.

Propertymark believes that a partnership approach is vital to ensure that any changes introduced benefit the whole sector and do not have unforeseen negative impacts. 

Reforming possessions

There is no clear evidence to support the need to change the way grounds for possession are applied. Agents questioned the need to permanently make all grounds for possession discretionary, as introduced initially temporarily during the pandemic, because of the difficulties they say it could present landlords who want to recover their property. They also said that the current system is working effectively and fairly in most cases, highlighting that notice to end tenancies instigated by landlords outnumber those from tenants by eight to one.

Balancing rights and risk

Deliver enhanced rights for tenants, align housing standards between private and social rented sectors, introduce a new Private Rented Sector Regulator and implement a national system of rent control by 2025 are outlined in the draft Strategy. 

The Scottish Government needs to consider key issues before forming policy, having a fair balance for landlords too, which includes: 

  • If greater flexibility on personalisation is introduced, are present mechanisms to cover the costs of remediation adequate? 
  • Are permanent pre-action requirements likely to be appropriate as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic? 
  • What will the likely impact be on the PRS of the removal of mandatory grounds for possession? 
  • What are the practical implications of a requirement to serve a homelessness prevention referral, and at what stage in the possessions process could this be done? 

Supporting the sector

Propertymark will be responding to the consultation covering the issues raised in the roundtable discussions and will continue to work to ensure that the voice of members is heard and considered as work on these reforms progresses. We are keen to hear the views of members who didn't attend the roundtable sessions, which can be emailed to our Policy Team.

The New Deal for Tenants consultations is open until 15 April →

We were delighted to provide our members with this platform to speak directly to the Minister on this important issue and for him to hear their views on how to address affordability in the PRS.

By attending our roundtable, Mr Harvie and the rest of the Government recognise the vital role Propertymark agents and the landlords they represent have in providing homes for the people of Scotland. They must now give their professional views serious consideration as this strategy continues to develop.

Daryl Mcintish Policy Manager | Propertymark
 We're working to deliver a New Deal for Tenants centred on more affordable rents and greater rights for all tenants. We've committed to introducing rent controls in the current Parliamentary session. While there are range of views on how best to do this, there is widespread consensus on the important of ensuring we have the evidence and data to develop a robust system that meets the needs of Scotland.
Patrick Harvie Minister for Tenants' Rights | Scottish Government