Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is to press ahead with introducing rent controls.
This is in the face of the Scottish Government’s own consultation, showing that seven in ten respondents were against controls,
Yesterday, in the Scottish Parliament’s version of the Queen’s Speech, Sturgeon outlined plans to introduce local rent controls through a Private Tenancies Bill as part of the SNP’s legislative programme for the next eight months.
Her move was sharply criticised by the Scottish Property Federation.
Its director David Melhuish said: “The mere prospect of rent controls could be enough to spook potential investors.
Thomas Ashdown, of lettings portal Citylets, said: “If the Scottish Government wants to increase housing supply, then the introduction of rent controls is not the way to do it.
“The latest Citylets quarterly report on the the Scottish PRS shows that for the vast majority of areas rents are barely keeping up with inflation as it is. Increasingly it would seem that this new legislation would only be relevant to parts of the City of Edinburgh and, as many commentators have noted, possibly exacerbate the lack of supply in those areas.”
A new body of agents and landlords in Scotland also added its voice to the criticisms and additionally called for two new different types of tenancy agreements.
PRS 4 Scotland wants to see a new flexible short-term tenancy agreement, plus a longer-term one for tenants aimed at staying put for between five and 15 years, or even longer.
Spokesperson Dr John Boyle said: “Scotland’s Private Rented Sector should be providing more long-term, stable, high-quality rental options for our growing tenant population, but that aim has been undermined by low levels of house building – a critical lack of supply.
“Yet the current debate around the future of the PRS in Scotland has been focused on calls for rent controls, without sufficient analysis of how these would work in practice to address Scotland’s housing crisis, or recognition of the harm they would do to tenants and landlords in practice.”
Boyle said: “The Scottish Government’s own consultation on these issues highlighted that 70% of respondents were against the introduction of a system of rent controls.”