Letting agents express opposition to proposed rent controls

Patrick Harvie
Patrick Harvie

Letting agents in Scotland have met with the country’s minister for tenants’ rights, Patrick Harvie, to discuss the prospect of rent controls.

The meeting, arranged by ARLA Propertymark, was the last of three roundtables that will inform the trade body’s response to the consultation on the Scottish government’s proposed A New Deal for Tenants strategy.

Members delivered a clear message to Harvie that the best way for the government to influence affordability is to get more homes into the private rented sector.

They said direct rent controls and other interventions proposed by the draft strategy could have the unintended consequence of pushing more landlords out of the sector, adding to the shortage of properties.

Labour’s housing spokesman Mark Griffin was also at the roundtable.

Daryl McIntosh, Propertymark’s policy manager for the Devolved Nations, said: “We were delighted to provide our members with a platform to speak directly to the Minister on this important issue and for him to hear how they believe affordability in the PRS can be addressed.

“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.”

Harvie said he welcomed the opportunity to hear directly from letting agents to help the Scottish government form its proposals.

He commented: “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, and while there are range of views on how best to do this, there is widespread consensus on the importance of ensuring we have the evidence and data to develop a robust system that meets the needs of Scotland.

“The New Deal for Tenants consultation is open until 15 April and I would encourage anyone with an interest to respond.”

 

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14 Comments

  1. MickRoberts

    Not rocket science is it. What, I’m gonna’ pay 35k deposit on a house, 25k refurbishing it. And u gonna’ tell me how much I can charge? I don’t think so, do u. And did u say u have an ever increasing homeless problem? And nowhere to house the Ukrainian refugees?  And do u think rent controls will increase supply?
    Tell u what, swap the Housing Minister while u at it, it’s only been swapped 10 or so times in 10 years.
    Eh guess what, I’ve had SAME tenants SAME landlord SAME houses for 25 years. Familiarity breeds success.

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  2. letstalk

    I just cannot fathom how they can consider this a sensible option when there is a blatant as the nose on your face evidence by way of the old Rent Act tenancies as to what happens when they meddle like this. The last time they introduced all this they then had to do a U turn with legislation, it’s hardly rocket science at this point. The more they meddle the worse they make it for everyone…. Utter lunacy spurred on by pressure groups that need to learn about historical consequences.

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    1. A W

      Votes…. all it is, is literally vote grabbing without thought of the consequences.

      I love that I can use this quote (a former Conservative Prime Minster): “Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Winston Churchill.

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  3. Will2

    Mr Harvie and the rest of the Government recognise the vital role Propertymark agents and the landlords but regretfully being a politician he will take no notice of the advice given. This is often seen as politicians pursue the popularity of the greater number voters in order to get votes, which puts them in a place of influence. It is so sad that we have politicans with no expertise in the areas in which they make decisions that affect us all.  Introduction of rent control will reduce supply, increase demand for stock still available, it will adversely impact on social mobility as it did in England when the Rent Act 1977 all but stopped the rental market and people from the North wishing to move to work in the South East could not as they had nowhere to live (nothing available to rent).  My view is they are simplistic solutions made without understanding the consequences taken by those who are arrogant to believe they know best.

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    1. MickRoberts

      So Will2,

      U know your dates more than me. Was it late 1980’s then that bed & breakfasts were full & then Maggie Thatcher then released the assured shorthold tenancy which gave Landlords a chance of getting their house back if bad tenant, & then Landlords started to buy again & release all the Benefit people from the Bed & Breakfasts?

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      1. Will2

        Yes Mick that was the 1988 Housing Act which meant people could rent property once more.  It encouraged people to invest in property and house all types of tenants. It gave social mobility by allowing those is poorer areas to work in places like London as they could rent a home.  In poorer locations people were able to buy cheaper property and house some of the less forntunate in society such as theose on benefits. What the Act did was make it attractive to rent property. S21 allowed them an aboslute right to gain possession which even smart ****** lawyers couldn’t easily frustrate, thus engendering trust in investment. Between 1977 (Rent Act) and 1988 (Housing Act)  you would not easily be able to rent a property although some company lets did happen as furnished property as they were outside of the Rent Act.  I am saying this but I guess you know all this anyway even if the dates are not etched in your mind! Landlords are selling as the current politicians are engendering mistrust and fear from years of landlord bashing, anti landlord pressure groups, so called housing charities that house no one, showing and charting a poor direction of travel for investors. In the meantime councils have asset stripped their old council housing and thanks to Maggie Thatcher lost much of the old council housing by forced sales to tenants at a massive discounts (first big time buying votes). History our politicians choose to ignore in their quest to gain votes,

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        1. MickRoberts

          Thanks Will2,

          I don’t know the full ins & outs like u have just greatly explained to me there. But I had it roughly the outline in me head
          What I don’t get is Why Govt & Councils don’t learn from history & people & the Media don’t just say it like u have.

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          1. Will2

            Perhaps because politicians only interested in getting votes to maintain their power and media largely like to sensationalise to make a good story on the cheap – this is why it is alway leaks and condensation based mould that is shown, the later often caused by the tenants but makes a good visual impact. Strange they never mention councils have powers to deal with these situations!

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  4. Woodentop

    Well don’t be surprised if rent controls come in. Some of the recent hiked rents are just insane and as I said several times before ……. wait till the winter and watch the fall out when the cost of living really bites. They are going to do what they have done with financial services …… prove affordability for the consumer before they enter into a legal contract and that is difficult to argue against in this age of consumer protection and shouldn’t it be in your best interest as a landlord!

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    1. MickRoberts

      That’s a tricky issue. As years ago I used to tell tenants u can’t afford this, I’m not putting u in something u can’t afford, even though they begged & pleaded.Problem is now (I only talk from experience of Nottingham), Benefit tenants can’t afford anything, so they’d be refused full stop. Mine are already in there paying much cheaper rents than what I could be getting, some paying an ok rent, but they somehow manage it-Well some don’t ha ha-But to do affordability on em before they move in would be bedlam. 

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    2. Will2

      This is an interesting view Woodentop.  At present the majoity of sensible landlords take out rent guarantee insurance and the affordability is confirmed or they will not get insurance to cover the rent (other than legal cover). So the affordability is largely in place.  As things like S21 abolition come into effect and rent control landlords will leave the market. Even before their introduction the market has gitters and landlords are leaving (also given they were stuffed by covid protections).  What is and will continue to happen is the supply of rental property will reduce as landlords lose trust in the markets but the better off tenants, of which there are many, will  find the property they seek. The poorer and more financially challenged tenants will find it much tougher and cause even more problems for those needing social housing. If you keep poking a wasps’ nest with a beating stick you will get stung one way or another. The only solution is building more council housing so there is an adequate supply and rents will drop. The problem is politicans don’t want to spend the money or  can’t provide it and are trying to force investors to provide housing at below market rents – it just will not happen. The current inflation and massive rising costs of fuel/energy will affect everyone and this will push workers (workers meaning everyone not just low earners) to strike and demand higher pay to meet the costs.  Being synical you have to ask if this is happening to effectively right off the value of all the debts run up by Government to survive the covid costs after all £1 in six months time will be of far less value than £1 last year!

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      1. Woodentop

        The question has to be why do bureaucrats consider it necessary to consider rent controls?

         

        Obviously something has got their goat and as history has proven, when they get the bit between the teeth, they have the power to do as they please regardless of what an industry says. Lettings is being victimised and those that are doing it, are looking for every conceivable excuse to claim they are right, they know best and we are wrong.

         

        But it is not their business, its ours, its private sector but being nationalised through the back door and the facts speak for themselves, Landlords are leaving the market and good landlords at that.

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        1. Will2

          Woodentop,  This is true but the sad thing is that those they claim to help will be the losers and suffer but the simplistic view is only what most people and politicians, in particular, see. After all if you are a rent payer of course you want to pay less but will not attribute the reducing supply of accommodation and consequential difficulties they will suffer. Like councils who tell tenants to wait for the bailiff and encourage contempt of court by not complying with the courts first order (and following government guidelines) for what? to save them getting off their backsides sooner and delaying matters for 5 or 6 weeks causing further loses to the landlord but these fools do not take into account the bad feeling and contempt they cause for themselves. Short sighted short termism at it greatest. This is a personal view but one I know many landlords will feel the same. The markets operate under the influence of legislation and government controls ultimately if you engender mistrust and constantly drive towards rent control and the like you drive away investment which is what is now being experienced. They will reap what they sow.

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          1. MickRoberts

            Very true Will2,

            Next time Landlord is either super cautious not taking a Council tenant again or selling the house. Whereas if Council took the tenant quicker, Landlord would take a chance next time & we’d all take the risky people if we knew we could get rid quick if problem. And that’s how you’d bring rents down as too much supply.

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