Housing options

Adam Lang of Shelter (Letters, 11 February) rightly points out that housing should be high on the agenda of government.

The building of new homes across all sectors is essential if the housing crisis is to be tackled and relieve the pressures caused by high demand and low supply.

Last year, a number of reports concluded there is a need for a land delivery organisation, and to ensure land supply is not clogged in the system by failures of the planning system or large house builders land banking.

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Scottish Land & Estates, representing rural landowners of all sizes and types, continues to offer our support to these recommendations.

Estates supply the majority of rural private rented housing, and also make land available for a range of other housing options.

These much-needed homes, many at affordable rents, are in areas where there is a lack of social housing, and members see delivery as a key role of responsible land-ownership. As demonstrated through the Rural Homes for Rent initiative, landowners can deliver high quality homes at long-term, affordable rents in places that desperately need to secure or grow their communities.

However, current housing stock has a key role to play, bringing empty homes back into use, properly regulating letting agents and increasing the private rented sector and opportunities for home ownership.

We have been calling for government to introduce a simpler tenancy which will enable landlords, tenants, investors and letting agents to operate with greater confidence – and therefore boost the sector.

We are concerned that Shelter is supporting proposals for unrequired security of tenure and rent controls, especially given its recognition of the pressures on the current housing supply.

To disincentivise landlords and create a situation where only the most risk-free applicants will be offered tenancies presents an even bigger challenge to meet housing need.

Katy Dickson

Scottish Land & Estates