Private rented sector awaits Holyrood reform

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NEGOTIATIONS over reform of the private rented sector are ongoing, says Mike Campbell

As the Scottish Government looks to begin its analysis of the feedback received from its second consultation on proposals for a new tenancy regime for the private rented sector (PRS), it may surprise you to hear that there is a general consensus between landlords and letting agents, housing charities and the Scottish Government about the need to provide increased security and improved standards for tenants whilst, at the same time, ensuring the PRS in Scotland can grow and flourish.

It is no secret that we are in the midst of a housing crisis and it is widely recognised that the private rented sector has a crucial role to play in tackling this, alongside additional house-building and an increase in social housing provision.

Last Tuesday I, on behalf of the Council of Letting Agents (CLA) along with John Blackwood, chief executive of the Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL) met with Margaret Burgess MSP to discuss our collective concerns about tenancy reform and the possibility of rent controls being imposed on the private rented sector in Scotland.

We also presented to the Minister our e-petition which, to date, has received more than 3,500 signatures.

This meeting marked an important stage in the discussions that SAL and the CLA have been holding with the Scottish Government over the last few months.

Negotiations with the minister and other MSPs underline our commitment in the coming months to represent the concerns outlined in both our e-petition and consultation responses as we look to protect and encourage critical future investment in the PRS in Scotland.

As an industry, we fully support measures which will help strike a balance but do not believe measures like rent controls or ending the “no fault” clause will achieve this.

We would urge the Scottish Government to reconsider additional protections for tenants without harming investment in the private rented sector.

• Mike Campbell is managing director for Belvoir Lettings in Edinburgh

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