Propertymark: Winter eviction plan would stop property investment in its tracks

Scotland’s plan to make it so evictions can’t be undertaken in the Winter would add significant financial risks to landlords, deterring investment.

That’s according to estate agency group, Propertymark, which was commenting on the Scottish Government’s draft rented sector strategy, A New Deal for Tenants, after receiving responses from its members.

Propertymark said: “The financial risk to landlords was the most frequent concern, with further comments including that a landlord evicting a tenant for rent arrears already suffers huge financial losses due to the amount of arrears tenants owe at the point of being evicted.

“It was suggested that investors will be deterred if further obstacles are placed in the way of ending tenancies, particularly in cases of rent arrears.”

Despite their reservations about banning Winter evictions, nine in 10 (90%) agents and landlords reckon additional protections against the ending of tenancies are needed during that time of year.

The agency group also spoke out about rent controls, saying that increasing the supply of social housing is the most important change needed.

Indeed, Propertymark echoed the well-publicised view among landlord groups that rent controls could reduce supply for tenants.

Members are more positive about the prospect of joint tenancies, with 94% agreeing with an amendment to the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016 (the 2016 Act), to ensure that all joint tenants can terminate their interest in a private residential tenancy without the agreement of other joint tenants.

Meanwhile members are open to keeping pets being a statutory right, thought they think more guidance should be given to landlords on how to put charges into practice.

Some suggested increasing the maximum deposit to landlords and/or requiring tenants to take out pet damage insurance.

Timothy Douglas, head of policy and campaigns for Propertymark, said: “Some of the proposals within the strategy are causing major uncertainty among letting agents and the private landlords they represent, at a time when the sector is already under huge strain and desperately in need of more investment, not less.

“The Scottish Government has already pushed ahead with restrictive legislative changes that will make it more difficult for landlords to take possession of their properties, despite warnings from housing professionals of the consequences.

“We urge Ministers to carefully consider the impact of any further reform to ensure it does not create additional risk that disincentivises more of the 240,000 private landlords who provide much-needed homes for Scottish people to live in.”

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