Scottish housing minister backs rent controls ‘that work for landlords and investors’

By admin Jun21,2024

Scottish housing minister Paul McLennan has targeted having rent controls that still enable landlords and investors to benefit from housing.

Speaking in Holyrood, McLennan said his government is committed to “rent control measures that contribute to a private rented sector that works for tenants and responsible landlords and to investors”, while he added that “the private rented sector plays a vital role in addressing housing need”.

David Alexander, the chief executive officer of lettings agent DJ Alexander Scotland, poured scorn on the comments.

He said: “I welcome the minister calling for a housing sector wide approach, but this needs to be backed with a realistic plan to amend the proposed policy on rent controls.

“Without that policy being revisited and changed to allow rent increases in the future the level of investment in Scotland’s private rented sector will continue to be restricted.

“The time for action is now rather than at some point in the future and everyone involved in the sector needs a detailed breakdown of changes to the Housing Scotland Bill and the Heating in Buildings Bill which will make investing in the private rented sector an attractive proposition in the future.”

In addition to rent controls, McLennan spoke of reducing the number of children held in temporary accommodation. However he pushed back the timeline on introducing a new minimum housing standard.

He said: “I recognise that we cannot achieve everything at once and we must focus on activity which will reduce harm, particularly that experienced by households with children.

“We decided to reschedule work on a new tenure-neutral housing standard. Rather than seek to introduce legislation in 2025 we intend to publish a public consultation on this matter by 2025.”

Scottish Conservative housing spokesman Miles Briggs responded by saying: “A month ago the Scottish government did declare a housing emergency.

“What we’ve heard today does not sound or feel like an emergency response to that. We need to see more.”

He added that 45 children become homeless in Scotland each day.

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