Housing groups have united to appeal to politicians to step back from new laws that threaten to “devastate” the number of homes for rent.
The Scottish Parliament is to debate the final stage of a Bill today which includes plans to give tribunals the final say on tenant evictions.
At the height of the pandemic there was a moratorium on evictions, except in special circumstances approved by a tribunal.
The Coronavirus (Recovery and Reform) Bill seeks to make this change permanent and a tribunal would be asked to rule on every instance where a landlord has legitimate reasons for ending a tenancy, including non-payment of rent.
Landlord groups claim this could “decimate” the value of a property and up to one in five landlords could withdraw from the market.
The Scottish Association of Landlords, NFU Scotland, the National Trust for Scotland and Scottish Land & Estates have warned that although the proposals are intended to offer greater protection to a very small number of tenants facing eviction, they will backfire on a far greater number of people looking to rent homes at a time when homes are in short supply.
John Blackwood, chief executive of the Scottish Association of Landlords, says: “We are appealing to our parliamentarians to think again over these proposals. There is a tried and tested eviction process which already works well and protects tenants and landlords. There is a very real danger that if this goes ahead landlords will lose confidence and simply sell homes at a time when they are in great need.”
Sarah Jane Laing, chief executive of Scottish Land & Estates, whose members rent around 3,000 homes in rural Scotland, adds: “This is a prime example where the consequences have not been thought through. Whether you are a landlord with a single buy to let flat or someone with multiple properties, the prospect of not being able to regain possession of the home you own scares landlords, driving them from the sector and reducing availability of homes for tenants. The Scottish Parliament should take a step back and look at this again in further detail.”
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