Sector must act together to challenge long term rent controls

Propertymark’s Head of Policy and Campaigns, Timothy Douglas, met Patrick Harvie, MSP, as part of the Scottish Government’s Private Rented Sector Stakeholder Group to discuss the Housing (Scotland) Bill and continued to assert that rent control proposals should be dropped in favour of focusing on other actions to make the private rented sector more affordable. This will ensure there is an adequate housing supply that meets increasing demand and tackling existing inequalities of income and wealth.

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A joint consultation on the Housing Bill has now been launched by the Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee (LGHPC) and Social Justice and Social Security Committee (SJSSC) with a focus on homelessness and tenants rights.

The Bill contains six main parts, addressing areas such as rent control, eviction procedures, tenant rights, and homelessness prevention. The Scottish Government says it aims to enhance tenant protections, prevent homelessness, and promote sustainable housing solutions.

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27 Mar 2024
Housing (Scotland) Bill published

Impact on Local Authorities

Propertymark has raised concerns about the practicalities of the proposed requirements for rent assessments and reports, as well as the designation of rent control areas, including the capacity for already overstretched Local Authorities (LAs) to carry out these activities on top of existing statutory duties.

The Scottish Government insists it will work with LAs to ensure they have the resources they need, but we are concerned that impact assessments that go alongside the legislation are still being worked up by officials.

Retaining investment in the sector

Douglas has highlighted to the Minister the ongoing damage to the sector caused by the Cost of Living legislation, as well as an increase in the rates of Additional Dwelling Supplement for buy-to-let property (now at 6%),  and the fact that landlords can only get loans and not grants to fund energy efficiency improvements.

Propertymark has called for a review of all costs and taxes impacting private landlords as part of the Bill. When pressed, the Minister agreed that it is important that the Housing Bill works alongside any new proposals for energy efficiency targets and stated that he will have a conversation with colleagues from across the government about a review of costs and taxes.

06 Nov 2023
Strong message delivered on rental reform proposals

Reducing uncertainty

It was made clear to the Minister that the sector needs certainty over the timescales and implementation. The Bill was introduced on 26 March 2024 and it is likely to take between 12-15 months to go through the Scottish Parliament.

Continuing to represent our members

In the coming weeks, Douglas will meet sector organisations to build a coalition of support for amendments to improve the legislation and engage with Scottish Government officials to discuss the Bill in detail. We will also respond to the joint consultation on behalf of members.

Feedback from Propertymark members is highly valued, and we will work closely with our Regional Executives from across Scotland to focus our campaigning. To provide input, please email [email protected] or contact your Regional Executive.