Devastating impact cost of living legislation having on the PRS

Patrick Harvie MSP, Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights, has again asked Propertymark to provide evidence on the controversial Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) (Scotland) Act 2022. For the third time, we surveyed members in Scotland and were unsurprised to see the disturbing effect that is taking place.

Edinburgh landscape

Homelessness and financial hardship

Not only is the temporary legislation damaging to landlords, who are struggling with spiralling costs and inflation pressures but also to tenants who are stuck in a highly competitive and shrinking market.

We have argued time and again that the legislation is not helping relieve homelessness and financial hardship but is actually more harmful by pushing landlords and investors out of the market.

Our research has shown that more and more landlords are looking to exit the market. In November 2022, 69% of agents said they had seen an increase in notices to sell, this had risen to a shocking 97% by May 2023. With each available rental property across the UK receiving an average of 10 applications, the issue of lack of supply and rising demand is only getting worse.

Propertymark has again called on the Scottish Government to discuss working options with industry professionals, the ongoing temporary nature of the legislation is causing more instability in an already fractured market.

All costs increasing but not rent

In April the Scottish Government introduced a higher rental cap of 3% but Propertymark member agents told us this is not nearly enough to cover outgoings, with one landlord seeing an increase in their mortgage payments from £151 to £560, a rise of 270%, due to interest rate rises.

Furthermore, all other services and trades have not been penalised by a cap on their charges, meaning that maintenance, admin and energy bills have all risen, putting further pressure on landlords.

Propertymark impacting future legislation

We are now hoping an end is in sight for the temporary legislation. Having again been invited to sit on a working group to look at future legislation in Scotland, which will discuss how we can transition away from the current restrictions, Propertymark will continue to advocate for members and demonstrate how the private rented sector is a valuable asset to the housing market and how our member agents continually deliver safe and secure housing for millions of people.

Download the full call for evidence response