RESPONDING to calls by Shelter to change the residential tenancy regime in the private rented sector, Scottish Land & Estates, which represents over 2,500 landowners in Scotland, has stated that short assured tenancies (SAT) can deliver both flexibility and security.
Director of Policy and Parliamentary Affairs at Scottish Land & Estates Sarah-Jane Laing commented:
“As the law stands there is already the option to provide longer tenancies, if landlord and tenant agree this is what they both want. Longer tenancies are routinely used in the rural private rented sector and even more would be offered if landlords had confidence in the ability to recover possession of their properties if there was a breach of contract. Statistically, families and householders in rural private rented accommodation tend to remain for substantial periods, with a study in one area showing almost 30% of households being resident in the same house for over 15 years*.
“Indeed, the Scottish Government review of the private rental sector in 2009 stated that ‘the evidence points to a tenancy framework that is working satisfactorily, with those who want to stay in the sector for longer periods often able to do so and those looking for flexible accommodation able to find it. We do not believe that there is any evidence to suggest that this is no longer the case."
Scottish Land & Estates is not alone in its view that the current tenancy regime can offer both flexibility and stability. Responding to last year’s Scottish Government consultation, the Chartered Institute of Housing stated that it was not convinced that significant demand exists in the sector for longer tenancies, and also highlighted that difficulty faced by landlords in recovering possession of their properties is one of the key reasons given for using a short assured tenancy.
Ms Laing continued:
"All indications suggest that removal of the SAT would in fact most likely have the opposite effect to that intended and actually decrease housing supply as landlords withdraw from the market. We are all in favour of having a well functioning and high quality private rented sector, which provides housing for families but believe there is no need to develop an alternative to the SAT”.