David Alexander, the managing director of DJ Alexander, acquired by the Lamond Group this week, has welcomed the new consultation paper on a better deal for tenants north of the border, published by the Scottish government yesterday, but he has also expressed concern about the potential for rent controls being introduced.
He warns that buy-to-let landlords could flee the market if the Scottish government presses ahead with rent controls.
Reflecting on the plans, which also include minimum standards for energy efficiency, he said: “The consultation paper on the new deal for tenants is welcome. Everybody wants to ensure that all tenants are treated fairly and live in appropriate housing and feel secure in their homes.”
“Scotland already has the fairest eviction policy in the UK, with greater rights for tenants to ensure they feel secure in their tenancy, and with a tribunal system to ensure problems can be resolved to the satisfaction of all involved.”
“Of concern with this paper is the mention of rent controls which have never worked anywhere and invariably lead to fewer properties on the market and more housing shortages. It is important to remember that landlords and property investors can go elsewhere. There are currently 340,000 households in the PRS in Scotland and this has risen from 5% of the population in 1999 to represent 14% in 2019. At the same time social housing has declined from 32% to around 24%.”
He added: “If the approach to resolving Scotland’s housing shortage is simply to attack one part of the sector, then there is every likelihood of failure. The Scottish government must have an inclusive and welcoming approach to ensure that the rights of landlords, investors and tenants are all listened to equally and their views are reflected in any changes to the current legislation. The alternative to inclusivity could lead to a shortage of housing and a consequent slowing of economic growth.”