Private credits

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Alister Steele (Platform, 29 
November) seems to imply that the only way in which the quality of private rented homes can be improved is to allow housing associations to develop new homes for market rent.

He justifies this by stating that housing associations have a 
50-year record in providing good quality rented housing and that their experience and reputation can play a crucial role in increasing supply and driving up standards.

This experience has come at huge cost to the taxpayer through the Housing Association Grant which, in its early days, was as high as 85 per cent of the build cost.

Many private landlords have been around a lot longer than 
50 years and many already 
provide good quality rented housing without taking a 
penny piece from the public purse.

Some have even built new homes at a lower cost per unit than the social-rented sector, and to a higher standard.

The private-rented sector is also driving up the quality of property and tenancy management through the voluntary private landlord accreditation scheme, Landlord Accreditation Scotland, which it does 
extremely successfully through the delivery of some 100 
training courses a year to 
both landlords and letting agents; 840 landlords and agents are now accredited by the scheme.

If the private-rented sector was supported by public money to even half the extent of its social-rented colleagues Mr Steele’s vision of a win-win ­situation would become reality very much more quickly and cheaply which, given the constraints on public expenditure, is something policymakers cannot ­possibly ignore.

Jamie Carruthers

Landlord Accreditation Scotland