Don’t try to fix a system that isn’t broken, letting agents tell the Scottish Government

The latest Propertymark Scottish Roundtable has been held

THERE is no clear evidence to support the need to change the way grounds for possession are applied in Scotland’s private rented sector, letting agents have told Scottish Government officials at a roundtable organised by Propertymark, the professional body for property agents.

The discussion was the first of three organised by Propertymark as part of the consultation into how the Scottish Government says it intends to work with landlords and tenants to provide affordable, accessible, and energy-efficient homes through its New Deal for Tenants.

During the 90-minute discussion agents question the need to permanently make all grounds for possession discretionary, as has being introduced initially temporarily during the pandemic, because of the difficulties they say it could present landlords who want to recover their property.

They said the current system is working effectively and fairly in most cases. One agent even suggesting that notice to end tenancies instigated by landlords outnumber those from tenants by eight to one.

Also discussed were changes to ending joint tenancy arrangements, specifically relating to incidents of domestic abuse; tighter restrictions on landlords taking back properties to allow them to be used as short-term lets; and a possible winter eviction ban.

Daryl McIntosh, Propertymark’s Policy Manager for the Devolved Nations, said: “A key part of our role at Propertymark is to give our members the opportunity to communicate their views of how policies might look on a practical level directly to the policymakers themselves.”

“The takeaway from our roundtable was that the current regime is working well and a concern that some of the proposed changes such as those to grounds for possession, are unnecessary and will place additional burdens and costs on landlords that will be detrimental to the sector.”

“The message to the Scottish Government officials who attended our event was clear: landlords are really feeling the pressure of endless legislative changes and will continue to head for the exit door if more are pushed through without solid evidence that they are needed.”

The draft A New Deal for Tenants is set to be finalised by the end of this year and new legislation will be brought before parliament in 2023.

Two more roundtables organised by Propertymark will take place this month, looking at balancing rights and risks on 15 March and the issue of rent controls on 23 March.

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