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Rent Controls: Will politicians who own Buy To Lets scupper plans?

A newspaper is suggesting that proposals for rent controls could be scuppered because of the relatively large proportion of elected politicians who are in fact landlords.

The National - a newspaper in Scotland which supports independence - claims that nearly a fifth of elected politicians in the Scottish Parliament are landlords.

It claims that this poses what it claims to be ‘a risk’ to proposals by the ruling Scottish National and Green parties to introduce rent controls - even though just over four fifths of the Parliament are not landlords. 


The paper goes on to list those Members of the Scottish Parliament who are landlords - and this includes eight Scottish National Party MSPs. 

One, Michelle Thomson, has an estimated rental income of £30,000 a year from here three rental houses and three rental apartments.

The Scottish Labour Party - which has also come out in favour of rent controls - has five MSPs who are landlords.

The newspaper claims that: “Campaigners say the stark figures show that the density of parliamentarians who are involved in the rental property market is a ‘serious impediment’ on their ability to act in the interests of tenants.”





The SNP and Greens - who rule Scotland in a loose alliance - have gone to a formal consultation on radical plans to reform the private rental sector, with rent controls as a major element.

The proposals put out for consultation include:

- increasing penalties for illegal evictions and stronger enforcement;

- restricting evictions during winter;

- national rent controls; 

- giving tenants greater flexibility to personalise their homes and keep pets;

- introducing a new Housing Standard to apply to all homes;

- establishing a private rented sector regulator to uphold these standards and ensure the system is fair for both landlords and tenants;

- setting minimum standards for energy efficiency, making homes cheaper to heat while contributing to Scotland’s climate change targets.

Over the festive period Paul Sweeney, Labour’s shadow minister for public finance and employment in the Scottish Parliament - and a former Labour MP at Westminster - tweeted his demands for rent controls.

“We need rent controls in Scotland, and we need them now. For too long, landlords have had total control: ratcheting up rents well above wages while neglecting maintenance” he wrote on Twitter.

“Together we can end the the rip off rental market in Scotland and provide good quality housing for everyone” he continued.

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  • George Dawes

    The only reason they’re against anything is it affects their own self interests, they couldn’t care less about the-people that’s obvious

  • icon

    Are rent controls really beneficial for tenants?
    Don't they just mean a guaranteed rent increase every year?
    How many of us tend to leave existing tenants on the same rent for considerably longer than a year?
    I have tenants who haven't had a rent increase in over 5 years.
    One of my properties is over £200 a month less than it would be if I had had inflation linked rent increases every year.

    Is this just a way of the government raking in even more tax?
    Convince tenants rent controls are beneficial to them so we Increase rents every year in line with the controls and then we pay more tax.
    Cunning but I can't see how it's good for tenants.


    I agree Jo, I also have tenants who have not had a rent increase for over 5 years . I also try to keep the rents affordable especially for Pensioners , and Families. I will have to increase the rents this year because my cost have increase considerably due to Section 24 Taxation, Selective Licence Fees. and very soon many Landlords will all be faced with crippling costs to comply with EPC regulations.


    I'm in the same boat as you Stephen. I am looking at reducing my planned increases due to the energy spike. I have all but sold one property and will be selling 2 in the next financial year. I will then evaluate, though I can see that it is likely I will sell more and ultimately exit this market.


    Throughout history rent controls have never benefitted tenants other than a lucky minority who are allocated the most desireable properties. They currently have it in place in Sweden, with rents negotiated between 'approved' landlord and tenant associations.

    Average waiting time for a property in Stockholm? 9 years. Double that for the desireable central areas.

    This has led to a massive shortage of accomodation and permitted sub-letting is now thriving, driven by market forces. Guess what has happened? Sky high rents!

    When rent controls were last in place in the UK they were a major driving factor in some of the worst slums this country has ever seen.

    The stupidity of all this is that the solution is extremely simple. Tighten immigration to sensible levels via sensible policies, and build more properties. In fact, the solution is so simple that, as you previously suggested, it makes you wonder if there isn't a hidden agenda behind it all.

  • icon

    I suspect many MPs on both sides have interests in rental properties or family members that do, so maybe there is still a chance

  • icon

    It’s much hardest to keep your business private with landlord registration throughout Scotland. Some MSPs want to compel all tax returns to be publicly accessible. I wonder how many MSPs are tenants?

    I suppose one could argue that landlord MSPs have real insight into the challenges of managing properties and dealing with tenants, hopefully balancing those with prejudiced views such as Paul Sweeney with his Rip off rental comments.

  • icon

    If the govt wishes to bring this into England anytime in the future then it will mean my rents will go up every year..... at the moment i do not increase them for existing tenants unless i have too, which is rare, so this would be a real bonus to me ! Not so for my tenants though.

  • Matthew Payne

    The scariest thing about rent controls is that every few people understand what they actually do, which is restrict supply, push up rents both to new tenants, and then existing tenants to boot who as with most bits of supposed tenant friendly legislation would rather their interests were left well alone by meddling politicians who just cost them more and more money. As with comments above, many LLs allow the status quo to exist, but encouraged to "limit" any rent increases to rpi, many then actually feel empowered to raise rents each year by that amount


    I have one tenant with a protected tenancy, I am allowed to increase this every 2 years which I do to the maximum allowed, so if rent controls do come in we will all be increasing rents as often as possible and by the maximum allowed.

  • George Dawes

    Like most things the incompetent corrupt politicians touch these days it’ll backfire spectacularly

  • Theodor Cable

    I will make sure that all my properties have a clause that excludes rent control.


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