Buy-to-let landlords are leaving the private rented sector north of the border in their droves as a direct result of Scottish rental reforms.
Fresh findings from the National Landlords Association (NLA) reveal that almost a quarter - 24% - of landlords with property in Scotland have sold over the last three months, with just 5% having acquired during the same period.
Sweeping reforms to tenants’ rights in Scotland, introduced towards the end of last year, gives individuals renting longer notice periods and indefinite security of tenure, meaning an end to “no-fault” evictions, as well as limiting rent increases to once every 12 months.
The Scottish government says the reforms provide security, stability and predictability for tenants, as well as appropriate safeguards for landlords, lenders and investors.
However, the changes are having a negative impact on the PRS in Scotland, according to the NLA.
The trade body fears that up to 45,000 landlords or approximately 67,000 rental properties could be adversely affected by the changes.
Richard Lambert, CEO at the NLA, commented: “The last quarter has seen the highest proportion of landlords selling properties in Scotland in any three month period since the government first announced their tenancy reforms in 2016.
“We warned these changes would unnerve investors in private rented homes in Scotland, and it should serve as a clear sign of what to expect if similar reforms are introduced elsewhere in the UK.”
The NLA highlights the fact that the Scottish Private Residential Tenancy system removes the flexibility of the sector to meet the varied needs of an ever-changing population of renters, in particular students and those who only seek short term tenancies, such as during the Edinburgh Festival.
Lambert explained: “Because student landlords now have to provide indefinite tenancies, they won’t be able to advertise their properties for the festival, as they won’t know for certain if they will be free and available by the end of July. If this sets a trend, and artists struggle to find short-term accommodation, the 2018 Edinburgh Festival could be the last to offer such a variety of talent.”