Thousands sign petition opposing rent caps in Scotland

11
May

10 May 2015

Over 3,000 people have signed a petition supporting landlords and letting agents in the Private Rented Sector in Scotland and opposing the introduction of rent controls.

PRESS RELEASE
Embargoed until 00:01, Monday 11 May

Organised by the Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL) and the Council of Letting Agents (CLA), the petition calls upon the Scottish Government and MSPs to recognise the importance of the Private Rented Sector (PRS) in Scotland, with 3,200 people signing up less than two weeks after it was launched on 1 May.

The petition, submitted to the Scottish Government Consultation on a New Tenancy for the Private Rented Sector, which closed yesterday, asks MSPs to consider the important role that the PRS plays in local economies and Scottish society as they consider major changes to the tenancy regime between landlords and tenants.

Echoing the voice of the wider sector the petition argues that proposals such as the introduction of rent controls and the removal of a the landlord’s right to terminate a tenancy at the end of the agreed lease period would have a detrimental effect upon the landlord investment that is necessary to meet the rising demand in the sector.

Commenting on the number of signatures gathered, chief executive of the Scottish Association of Landlords John Blackwood said:

“Gathering almost 3,000 signatures in such a short space of time is astonishing and testament to how concerned landlords and agents are by some of these Scottish Government proposals and the impact they could have on the housing market in Scotland.”

“Investment in the PRS will play a major part in tackling the systemic housing shortage in Scotland, along with the need to increase the availability of social housing and the construction of more privately owned homes.  However, if the Scottish Government follows through on proposals to bring in rent controls and remove a landlord’s right to terminate a tenancy at the end of the agreed lease period, SAL is in no doubt that the required investment to deliver more homes for private rent will dry up.”

“The vast majority of the 330,000 tenants in the PRS rely on the flexibility that renting provides primarily due to cost and location in relation to the changing jobs market. Whilst we agree that some changes to the current regime are necessary, we would urge the Scottish Government to consider the wider implications of what is being proposed.”

“Landlords and agents across Scotland have used this petition to make their voices heard and now we hope that the Scottish Government listens.”

—ENDS—

Notes to Editors

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

SAL and the CLA have submitted the petition to the Scottish Government as a formal submission to the consultation which closed yesterday (Sunday 10 May).

•    For information, the full petition text is below and can also be viewed at https://you.38degrees.org.uk/p/landlordsscotland
•    The Scottish Association of Landlords calls upon the Scottish Government and MSPs to reflect upon the importance of the Private Rented Sector (PRS) to local economies and Scottish society as they consider changes to the tenancy regime between landlords and tenants.  In particular, to take not of the following points:
•    330,000 people currently rely on the PRS in Scotland, a large number of them for reasons of cost, location and flexibility related to the changing nature of the job market.
•    Investment in the PRS will play a major part in tackling the systemic housing shortage in Scotland, along with the need to increase the availability of social housing and the construction of more privately owned homes.
•    The majority of letting agents and landlords are small businesses employing significant number of local people throughout Scotland. Furthermore, the PRS in Scotland requires the on-going employment of local trades businesses such as electricians, builders, plumbers and heating engineers.
•    Those involved in the PRS are always looking to increase standards and the level of service for tenants. Landlords and tenants alike want to drive out the rogue players, who damage the reputation of the overwhelming majority, and all would welcome additional measures from government to help.
•    Landlords and letting agents wish to retain the right for both the landlord and the tenant to choose to end the tenancy by giving the appropriate required notice. This measure also provides protection for neighbours impacted by tenants disrupting local communities with their anti-social behaviour.
•    The industry agrees that rent reviews should take place no more than once a year to ensure that tenants are not subject to unreasonable or unexpected rises. The industry supports the view that there is no need for any kind of rent control in Scotland, recognising that rents have generally not increased in Scotland and, in real terms, have actually fallen over recent years. Any rent capping would distort the market in different parts of the country and simultaneously discourage much needed investment in new housing which provides a sustainable solution to addressing a lack of supply in some areas.

About the Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL) – https://www.scottishlandlords.com/

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.

About the Council of Letting Agents – http://www.counciloflettingagents.com/

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.

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

Graeme Downie
Director

Orbit Communications
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