Rural landlords urged to have their say in New Deal for Tenants proposals

Jennifer Campbell

A country property specialist has called for rural landlords to get involved in the consultation process into the Scottish Government’s proposed New Deal for Tenants.

Jennifer Campbell, head of estate agency at Baird Lumsden, the rural property arm of DM Hall Chartered Surveyors, said many of the changes in the proposed legislation could have a ‘significant impact’ on landlords.

The draft strategy, which will be open for consultation until April 15th, will be finalised by the end of this year and the new legislation will be brought before parliament in 2023.

Key proposals include applying the range of rights and protections currently enjoyed by social rented tenants to their counterparts in the private sector; making permanent the restrictions on evictions which were applied as an emergency measure in the early stages of the pandemic; establishing a Regulator for the private rented sector; implementing rent controls for the private rented sector; and setting minimum standards for energy efficiency and zero emissions heating.

Jennifer Campbell said, “The availability of rural properties to let is already difficult, particularly when there is competition from second homes and holiday lets. Further legislation will simply deter landlords who may look to sell. Private rented properties are essential where social housing cannot provide and for many, it is simply a lifestyle choice.

“Property owners operate under a considerable amount of existing regulation and a survey concluded that the majority of tenants were happy under the current PRS system, questioning why such changes were required. It is of vital importance that the voice of the private rented sector is heard before these wide-ranging alterations to the current system are implemented and all landlords should make it a priority to respond to the consultation.”

Ms Campbell’s views on the challenges for landlords were echoed by Daryl McIntosh, policy manager at Propertymark, a membership body for property agents and the property sector.

He said, “The private rented sector plays a crucial role in the housing system, providing homes to people who cannot, or simply do not want to, own their own home and for whom the social rented sector is not an option. We ask that the Scottish Government show careful consideration before introducing additional regulations to the sector.

“We continue to see landlords feeling the pressures of endless legislative changes and exiting the market. Additional pressures could see the sector further crumble. Working in collaboration with our members, stakeholders, politicians and parliamentarians, we aim to continue to raise the standards across the entire industry ensuring people can rent affordable, warm and safe homes from reputable landlords.”