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By Sarah Hazzard

Head of the Galbraith lettings team , Moray and the Highlands


Rent Controls - most landlords staying the course in Scotland

Scottish landlords have been targeted with a raft of restrictive legislation in recent years but most are staying the course and focusing on the long-term, as demand from tenants continues to rise.

Galbraith, one of the leading lettings agencies in Scotland, reports significant uncertainty in the private residential sector, with some landlords choosing to sell their rental properties just before the moratorium on evictions was introduced by the Scottish government in October.

However the overall number of landlords has now returned to pre-pandemic levels, with new entrants to the market equal in number to those who have chosen to exit.


There are many good reasons for landlords to stay positive and take a long-term view.

There is continued exceptionally high demand from tenants and this shows absolutely no sign of falling. In most areas there are a significant number of applicants for every rental property that comes to the market, enabling us to evaluate each tenant for their reliability and suitability for the property. When properties are made available to let, we will typically secure a good quality tenant very quickly. Rents have also risen considerably in recent years, to compensate for the lack of supply in the market.

About 38 per cent of households in Scotland live in rented accommodation, according to the Scottish government’s consultation paper, A New Deal for Tenants. Of this, only 14 per cent is in the private sector, estimated at around 140,000 properties.

Rents have risen considerably in the past five years, with increases of up to 30 per cent for rural cottages,  but landlords’ associations report that fees have risen in response to the huge volume of legislation aimed at the sector, coupled with higher taxation. Demand for property to let in rural areas has risen in the past two years as many people continue to work from home and therefore do not need to live in a city centre.

Landlords in Scotland must be compliant with legislation including: energy performance certificates; repairing standards for rental property; smoke and fire alarm legislation; electrical installation condition reports; gas safety certificates; carbon monoxide alarms; legionella risk assessments; and the safe deposit scheme.

Eviction orders are now on hold until at least the end of March 2023, and there is also a freeze on rents, which puts extreme pressure on landlords. The vast majority of landlords are not wealthy – typically they let one property and they are covering the mortgage payments. These rates are rising for landlords as well as everyone else. Our landlords worked incredibly hard during the pandemic to support tenants who were struggling and now they are helping to ensure that properties are energy-efficient, well-insulated and warm for the winter. Where landlords and tenants can work together it’s a win-win situation. 

Landlords are prepared to invest in their property and create an excellent relationship with their tenants based on a long-term understanding. 

Most people would agree that the Scottish government has got the balance wrong, and the end result will be higher rents (once the period of rent control ends) and a smaller private rental sector in Scotland, which is surely not what was intended. If we want to enable people to move between jobs there must be sufficient good quality housing stock for people to move to a new region and find somewhere to live. 

Future policy for the rental sector should balance protection for tenants without encouraging disinvestment by existing landlords. Otherwise why would they take the risk? 

* Sarah Hazzard heads the Galbraith lettings team in Moray and the Highlands *

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    This will only work IF rent controls are ended............ but what if they are not !!! I would not put it past Wee-Willie-Krankie to keep the evictions ban and rent increase ban in place, then the whole model mentioned in this article is unworkable.


    Agreed. Temporary is just a pre-cursor to permanent.

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    I'm in the Highlands and I am selliing my portfolio. I have already sold 2 and will keep the momentum going on the other 9. The reason I'm selling is all the hoops that have to be jumped through as a landlord, the costs and unfair taxes and finally losing control of my own investments. Why would I want to spend thousands of pounds of my hard earned cash on a deposit only to have any say in how I run my 'business' taken away. I say 'business' but if course we all know that it is looked upon as an investment. I can't wait to exit the game even with the capital gains that will have to be paid. Time to look at something else...maybe just stick the lot in savings accounts, they're giving better rates now and are a lot less hassle!

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    Some say stocks and shares ISA are the way to go. No tax, no effort, no dealing with difficult tenants, low risk and possibly 10% - 15% or more return.


    Each to their own John, some will make 10 - 15% profit others will make a 10- 25% lose, car dealers will buy a £5k car out of an auction and sell it a week later for £7k, it's all down to what you know

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    Mr Michael Gove is missing a golden chance to Educate himself about Housing.
    He is giving £678’000.00 to Leeds to use for behavioural science to change the Culture of Landlords improving knowledge and skills.
    This is exactly what’s required for Politicians they need Educating forget about the skills they won’t have any of those.
    Mr Michael Gove top of the list so keep the £675’000. and educate yourselfs.


    Give me the £675,000 and I'll educate you Mr Grove, I'll even buy you lunch, all in

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    Micheal, behavioural science is a euphemism for brainwashing!

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    Being a landlord in Scotland isn’t that bad, so says the letting agent.

    Time will tell, but I’m pretty sure the rental market will only go one way.

    The rent freeze isn’t a problem as most landlords rarely increase rents during the tenancy and those that feel it is justified or necessary will wait until the ban ends. But what seems quite possible is that rent increases during a tenancy will be extended and then made a permanent feature. Then, severe restrictions on rent increases for new tenancies will be introduced, maybe as a temporary measure that will also be extended and become permanent.

    It’s only going to go in one direction. The SNP is anti private landlord, anti land owner anti second home owner, anti holiday let and generally anti capitalist and anti personal wealth. Those with money will invest elsewhere.


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