Scotland gets new “Champion” for expansion of private rented sector

Picture Copyright Chris Watt 07887 554 193
New Private Rented Sector Champion Gerry More is looking to attract new sources of finance to help expand this growing tenure. Picture Copyright: Chris Watt

A leading housing industry figure has been appointed Scotland’s private rented sector (PRS) “Champion” to take forward the recommendations of a major research project aimed at attracting new sources of investment to help expand this growing tenure.

 With a career spanning over 25 years, Gerry More, current consultant and non-executive director to a number of property related companies and a former main Board director at CALA Group, has been named by industry body Homes for Scotland as the person responsible for driving initiatives designed to enable potentially viable projects deliver much needed rental housing.

Having chaired the Steering Group which commissioned the research work undertaken by world-renowned experts in housing finance from the Cambridge Centre for Housing & Planning Research and LSE London, Mr More has been closely involved in the Scottish Government-supported project since its inception in 2013.

Commenting on his appointment he said, “The impact of the economic downturn on home building and mortgage lending led to unexpectedly rapid, albeit small scale, PRS growth with people increasingly turning to the rental market to solve their accommodation needs.  This has brought both challenges and opportunities with respect to the sector becoming a professionally-managed and important tenure choice. There has been talk for some years that large financial institutions were interested in investing in rented residential development but this has not yet materialised to any great effect in Scotland. Quite clearly, new thinking and new approaches are required in order to translate this latent interest into activity. And this is where the real work starts, implementing the recommendations of last year’s research report.”

“With government backing and local authority support, we believe that institutions will invest long-term into a professionalised PRS. And there are clear parallels of what has been achieved in student accommodation where yields rather than vacant possession for owner occupiers drive the value of properties. Bringing such investment to Scotland offers many benefits. As well as increasing economic activity and creating jobs, the building of much needed new homes to some of the highest technical  standards in Europe will result in lower fuel bills and better living standards when compared to existing inferior stock.”

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said, “I welcome the appointment of Gerry More as Scotland’s PRS Champion, a post that underlines the importance of the private rented sector to Scotland’s housing mix.  The Scottish Government recognises the potential that exists to unlock new and alternative sources of housing investment in this sector, and that is why we provided funding towards the post, as well as the research study undertaken by housing finance experts which has made a number of key recommendations to attract new forms of investment.”