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Appeal to rural landlords to make their voices heard in consultation process into New Deal for Tenants

Posted: 15th February 2022

One of Scotland’s leading country property experts has issued an urgent appeal to rural landlords to become involved in the consultation process which has just begun into the Scottish Government’s proposed New Deal for Tenants.

Jennifer Campbell, Head of Estate Agency at Baird Lumsden, the rural property arm of DM Hall Chartered Surveyors, said many of the changes in the proposed new legislation could have a significant impact on landlords and present them with new challenges.

The draft strategy, which will be open for consultation until April 15th, will be finalised by the end of this year and the new legislation will be brought before parliament in 2023.

Its key proposals include:

• Applying the extensive range of rights and protections currently enjoyed by social rented tenants to their counterparts in the private sector.

• Making permanent the restrictions on evictions which were applied as an emergency measure in the early stages of the pandemic.

• Establishing a Regulator for the private rented sector.

• Implementing rent controls for the private rented sector.

• Setting minimum standards for energy efficiency and zero emissions heating.

Jennifer Campbell said: “The availability of rural properties to let is already difficult, particularly when there is competition from second homes and holiday lets. Further legislation will simply deter landlords who may look to sell. Private rented properties are essential where social housing cannot provide and for many, it is simply a lifestyle choice.

“Property owners operate under a considerable amount of existing regulation and a survey concluded that the majority of tenants were happy under the current PRS system, questioning why such changes were required.

“It is of vital importance that the voice of the private rented sector is heard before these wide-ranging alterations to the current system are implemented and all landlords should make it a priority to respond to the consultation.”

The draft strategy is being introduced by Shona Robison, MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government and the SNP’s Green Party partner Patrick Harvie, MSP, Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights.

Ms Campbell’s views on the challenges for landlords were echoed by Daryl McIntosh, Policy Manager at Propertymark, the leading membership body for property agents and the property sector.

Mr McIntosh said: “The private rented sector plays a crucial role in the housing system, providing homes to people who cannot, or simply do not want to, own their own home and for whom the social rented sector is not an option.

“We ask that the Scottish Government show careful consideration before introducing additional regulations to the sector. We continue to see landlords feeling the pressures of endless legislative changes and exiting the market. Additional pressures could see the sector further crumble.

“Working in collaboration with our members, stakeholders, politicians and parliamentarians, we aim to continue to raise the standards across the entire industry ensuring people can rent affordable, warm and safe homes from reputable landlords.”

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