New Legislation could “drastically limit” ability to tackle anti-social behaviour, say landlords

3
Nov

New legislation designed to modernise the Private Rented Sector (PRS) in Scotland could make it harder for landlords to tackle anti-social behaviour in their properties, according to a group of over 50 letting agents from across the country.

As 350 delegates from across Scotland gather for a major industry event in Edinburgh, National Landlord Day, 56 letting agents, representing the landlords of over 16,000 properties in total, have signed a statement saying they are concerned that by removing a landlord’s right to allow a tenancy to come to a natural end, the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Bill if enacted would make it harder for them to tackle anti-social behaviour.

The signatories to the statement say they know of landlords who have been made aware of anti-social behaviour in their property and have been unsuccessful in their efforts to assist the tenant in improving their conduct.  To manage the situation quickly and effectively, and for the benefit of the community, the landlord has allowed a tenancy to come to a natural end, allowing for the adequate notice period outlined in the contract.

These landlords are concerned that in future, neighbours who complain about anti-social behaviour would be forced to make an official complaint to the police and be willing to give public evidence to a Tribunal before any action can be taken to remove a tenant.  Not only will this quasi-judicial process increase the time it takes to tackle the problem, many of the people affected by anti-social behaviour will feel sufficiently threatened that they may not be willing to make a public complaint and be too intimidated to testify.  Landlords will be powerless to act unless such public complaints are made.

John Blackwood, chief executive of the Scottish Association of Landlords said: “A key complaint we have heard from our own members, as well as from those in our letting agent wing, the Council of Letting Agents (CLA), is that the measures in the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Bill will make it harder to tackle anti-social behaviour.”

“The people often most affected by anti-social behaviour are those in vulnerable groups such as older people who could feel threatened by a neighbour. They may be less likely to publicly complain, let alone be willing to take part in what is a formal legal process.  These people would in future have to suffer in silence and our landlords would be powerless to help.”

“SAL and the CLA support the need to modernise the tenancy regime in Scotland.  However, we would urge the Scottish Government to look again at their plans to remove the right of a landlord to allow a tenancy to come to a natural end. We call upon them to find a different approach which would allow landlords to tackle anti-social behaviour effectively whilst providing sufficient security for the vast majority of tenants.”

——ENDS——

Notes to Editors

For more information, please contact Graeme Downie on 07973 300 184 or at graeme.downie@orbit-comms.co.uk

National Landlord Day will take place at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh on Tuesday 3 November 2015.  Journalists and crews are free to attend and interviews and filming can be arranged for the day.

The signatories below work with landlords with a total of 16,620 properties across Scotland.

Statement & signatories

“As letting agents from across Scotland, with thousands of landlords as customers, we are deeply concerned that measures being proposed in the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Bill will make it harder for them to end tenancies in the event of anti-social behaviour.  We know of landlords who have been made aware of anti-social behaviour in their property and have been unsuccessful in their efforts to assist the tenant in improving their conduct.  In order to manage this situation quickly and effectively and for the benefit of the community, they have allowed a tenancy to come to a natural end, allowing for the adequate notice period outlined in the contract.

“These landlords are concerned that in future, neighbours who complain about anti-social behaviour in a property would be forced to make an official complaint and be willing to give public evidence to a Tribunal before any action can be taken to remove a tenant.  Not only will this quasi-judicial process increase the time it takes to tackle this deeply upsetting problem, many of the people affected by anti-social behaviour will feel sufficiently threatened that they may not be willing to make a public complaint and be too intimidated to testify.  Landlords will be powerless to act unless such public complaints are made.”

“By increasing the onus on neighbours or members of the community to intervene, the new legislation will drastically limit the ability of landlords or letting agents to take steps to end anti-social behaviour.  We are concerned this will damage our reputation when the reality will be that there is no action that can be taken by landlords or letting agents.”

“We would urge the Scottish Government to consider amendments to the legislation which would allow landlords to retain some rights which would to allow a tenancy to come to a natural end so they can take action to tackle anti-social behaviour.”

Signatories to the statement are:

  • Stonehouse Lettings
  • Crombie & Co Property Management
  • LinnMac Property Ltd
  • Highland Property Services
  • Independent Estates
  • Borders Country Lets
  • Fife Letting Service
  • University of Aberdeen
  • Marchside Property
  • 1LET
  • The Property Store (East Kilbride)
  • The Key Place
  • Edinburgh Letting Solutions
  • Red Box Property Ltd
  • Source Property
  • ABZ Property Investment Leasing
  • Splendid Property Management
  • Penny Lane Homes (Renfrew)
  • Cullen Property
  • The Key Place
  • Martin & Co (Dunfermline)
  • Broughton Property
  • Napier Property
  • Martin & Co (Glasgow West End)
  • Braidburn Property
  • Tailored Lettings
  • Professional Propertay
  • Homes for Good
  • Belvoir (Perth)
  • Speirs Gumley
  • Rollos
  • Duncan McKenzie
  • Drummond Miller
  • Fine Lets
  • Colcro
  • Brunswick Letting
  • Big Property
  • Ross & Liddell
  • Kate Kelly Property Services
  • S&J Property Letting
  • Border Lets
  • Martin & Co (Kirkcaldy)
  • Click-let
  • Martin & Co (Shawlands)
  • Chapmans
  • Gladstones
  • Littlejohns
  • Excel Sales & Letting
  • Eve Brown
  • Easymove Everytime
  • Margaret Duffus Leasing
  • Annan Properties
  • Belvoir (Edinburgh)
  • Wardhaugh Property
  • 9% Property Management
  • SME Professional

Scottish Association of Landlords

Established in 2001 having developed from various local groupings of landlords and letting agents, the Scottish Association of Landlords quickly grew to be the largest and only dedicated national landlords organisation representing landlords and agents throughout Scotland.

Through our fourteen local branches and with members from Shetland to Stranraer, the organisation has strong links with Scottish local authorities and actively campaigns at local and national level on behalf of members.  Our acclaimed training programme, delivered through sister organisation Landlord Accreditation Scotland (LAS), offers our members the opportunity to meet locally and learn from each other’s experience as well as gaining knowledge from some of the country’s most experienced industry trainers.

Policy, lobbying and campaigning has been an important aspect of SAL’s work since our inception. Our Policy & Parliamentary Affairs department works at the heart of government in the Scottish Parliament, as well as Westminster where relevant, with most of housing matters devolved to Holyrood.

Council of Letting Agents

The Council of Letting Agents (CLA) is the specialist wing of the Scottish Association of Landlords representing Scotland’s leading letting agents. It is the largest professional association of its kind in Scotland and is at the head of the lettings industry.

The CLA represents the collective opinion of our member letting agents and we encourage all our members to feed in by email or phone. Landlords and agents are in the same industry, so we believe working together as much as possible as equal parts of SAL, the leading trade body in the country, makes us all stronger.

Chair Amanda Wiewiorka leads the group and represents agents on the SAL National Council which feeds into the overall policy position of the organisation.