Warnings of national housing crisis

On 25 January 2023, a Scottish opposition party debate discussed the issues of homelessness and the delivery of new homes and called for the Scottish Government to declare a housing emergency and introduce a dedicated housing minister.

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Building new homes

As inflation, the cost of living and homelessness numbers rise, the commitment to building 110,000 affordable homes by 2032 under current plans is becoming completely unachievable, not only when meeting their ambitious targets but also meeting the growing demand for suitable homes of all tenures.

The Scottish Government continues to blame Brexit and COVID for the housing shortage. Still, it fails to recognise that there has been a homelessness problem for many years. New measures put in place under the Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) Act 2022 and the Autumn 2022 budget statement have only exacerbated this. 

Ministers push the rhetoric on the cost of supply, materials, Brexit, and inflation but continue to disregard how its restrictive policies are impacting the sector. The Scottish Government needs to drastically improve how it values the private rented sector (PRS) and tackle housing issues such as these with greater urgency.

Financial pressures on landlords

Landlords no longer have confidence in the housing market in Scotland, there are financial pressures, and a lack of incentives are forcing landlords to look to take their investments elsewhere. Property agents have expressed their concerns to Propertymark that this will impact the market, significantly if new regulations are extended.

Notwithstanding this, there has been some progress, following the pressure put on the Scottish Government by Propertymark and partners, in the rent cap being raised to 3%, but the debate recognised that this is not enough to resolve the housing crisis and provide more housing across all tenures. 

Propertymark supports the opposition parties' calls and wants to see more housebuilding (particularly in the social housing sector) and more incentives for private landlords to remain in the market and take action on empty housing. Also makes demands under energy efficiency targets have failed to provide financial support, which further disincentivises property owners. 

Listen to the Scottish opposition party two-part debate  →

Importance of the PRS

The Scottish Government announced its plans to bring out a Housing Bill later in 2023 and Propertymark hopes that they will recognise the importance of the PRS when making decisions under this new legislation, and we will continue with our pressure to see positive changes in the sector.

As rightly pointed out during the debate, the private rented sector is no longer a viable option for many landlords. We know that the private rented sector plays a huge role in housing the nation however, due to increased financial and regulatory pressures placed on landlords, 68 per cent of letting agents said they had seen an increase in notices to sell.
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Timothy Douglas Head of Policy and Campaigns | Propertymark
It is clear that very real negative impacts are on the horizon for our property market in Scotland. Surveys that were conducted by Scottish Land & Estates, Propertymark and the Scottish Association of Landlords demonstrate that people are now looking at removing their private rented properties from the sector. Seventy per cent of agents report that landlords are deciding not to bring forward rental properties.
Miles Briggs MSP | Scottish Conservative Party