Landowners are claiming that the negative stereotype given to private landlords in recent years by government contributes to the overall housing crisis.
Scottish Land & Estates, representing landowners, says aspirations to improve housing volume and quality are being blocked by planning and infrastructure constraints, inflexibility on affordable housing models and a negative approach to private landlords.
Sarah-Jane Laing, SLE chief executive, says: “”There has been a wide political consensus to improve the sustainability of our rural communities but the stark reality is that we should be much further forward than we are now.
“Provision of rural housing is essential to the success of that strategy. We all share the goal of trying to increase the amount of rural housing but all too often that ambition is thwarted by delays in planning processes, lack of funding for private affordable homes, prohibitive infrastructure and utility costs and an ever-growing burden of private rented sector legislation.
“Members of Scottish Land & Estates provide more than 10,000 homes for rent in rural areas and many businesses are actively involved in building homes. They are dedicated to meeting a real social need but they are frustrated.
“Delivery of new homes is more complicated than it need be, and we continue to lose affordable rented housing due to ever increasing burden on landlords. The rate of new build affordable rented houses just cannot match the homes we are losing from the sector week on week.”
Scottish Land & Estates’ survey of members reveals that 22 per cent of properties could be lost to the market due to the burden of regulation - and this includes six per cent which have already been withdrawn.
“Landlords across the sector are also deeply concerned that there will be fewer homes available for tenants should changes to regulations on eviction procedures go ahead” says a statement from the organisation.
One SLE member - Jamie Carruthers, who has built low-energy houses for rent - adds: “We were delighted to build houses and renovate a number of cottages to provide more local housing but sadly, there has been a significant push against landlords in recent times. We all want to see more people living and working in rural communities and the private rented sector has a part to play in achieving that.
“However, if I was starting the project delivered … under present regulations then I would almost certainly decide the risks were too great and not go ahead with the build.”
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