Rural housing

Debates around measures to solve the UK’s housing crisis have been especially prominent in recent weeks and coincide with Westminster passing new legislation to ban retaliatory evictions in England.

The law, which was passed last week, will make eviction invalid where the tenant has made a complaint about housing conditions that the landlord did not respond to adequately.

The Scottish Government is also looking at improvements to the sector. There is much concern, however, that by introducing new legislation – which goes significantly further than that in England – Holyrood may unintentionally cause more problems that it is solving.

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Scottish Land & Estates’ members represent the main providers of rural rented homes across the country – many of which are leased on affordable rents.

As has happened south of the Border, a targeted tool would be much better than a blunt 
instrument which could affect supply.

The Scottish Government has consulted on removing the “no-fault ground” – which allows landlords to ask tenants to move out at the end of an agreed contractual term – and revising the grounds for possession.

Yet, the grounds listed by the government are incomplete and do not sufficiently cover legitimate reasons where it is fair for a landlord to request the possession of their property.

This will almost certainly create the unintended consequence of losing – and certainly not growing – the number of those homes available to rent.

While we are generally considered to be in the midst of a housing crisis, driving private landlords out of the sector will only exacerbate the situation further, thus reducing much needed housing supply.

Katy Dickson

Scottish Land & Estates