Private rented sector reforms a ‘lose-lose’ for tenants and landlords

General News

Both tenants and landlords will lose out through the Scottish Government's ill-advised tenancy reforms, Scottish Land & Estates said today.

Passed at Holyrood last night, part four of the Coronavirus (Recovery and Reform) (Scotland) Bill removes the mandatory grounds to remove a tenant and reclaim vacant possession, such as non-payment of rent.

Such grounds will become discretionary and a tribunal will not have to automatically remove a tenant even where the tenant fails to comply with the conditions set out in their rental agreement.

Scottish Land & Estates said losing the balance of rights that existed previously in tenancy legislation - and instead stacking them against landlords - will be counter-productive in the long-term. 

Stephen Young, Head of Policy at Scottish Land & Estates, said:

"Many organisations and researchers have said that these tenancy reforms will be a lose-lose for both tenants and landlords. The Scottish Government has refused to change course and instead plough on despite the long-term damage it will cause to the private rented sector.

"We firmly support the need for safe, warm, quality housing for all. The private rented sector provides that and a recent government survey confirmed 94% of households were happy with their existing arrangements.

"By removing safeguards for landlords, many will choose to remove their properties from rental and housing supply will be affected. That will mean more tenants will be competing for fewer properties and those with less resources will not be able to compete, particularly when it comes to paying deposits.

“It is also likely that more cases will become clogged up in the tribunal system. Tribunals are already suffering severe delays and there has been no assurances from government that they will provide extra resources to alleviate the inevitable backlog, which is bad news for tenants and landlords. We also asked government to commit to assessing the impact of this legislation in the future but it has declined to do so.

"Housing supply continues to be a huge problem in rural Scotland and the Scottish Government has just exacerbated this. The option was available to examine tenancy reform in more detail as part of a forthcoming housing bill but instead government has chosen to enact these ill-advised changes as part of a public health bill. That is deeply regrettable."