A number of buy-to-let landlords have exited the sector in Scotland, meaning there could be a shortage of properties to rent this winter, the Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL) warned.
The organisation’s members are reporting drops of 80% or more in the number of properties available to let in the last two months, meaning there will be more pressure on councils to pick on slack.
It blamed this loss of landlords on disproportionate regulation and a misunderstanding from the government regarding the role of private landlords.
John Blackwood, SAL chief executive, said: “We are hearing from members across Scotland of a chronic shortage of homes to rent and that they expect it to get worse in the coming months.
“Landlords and letting agents are telling us of huge drops in the normal number of properties they would normally have available to rent, with some saying they have none at all left to let, despite enquiries from hundreds of people looking for a home.”
He added: “At the same time, we are seeing huge jumps in the cost of buying a house and with limited supply and increased demand in the PRS, many people will be left with nowhere to live, inevitably putting massive pressure on emergency housing supply as well.
“We are just beginning to see some of the consequences of the hostile anti-landlord rhetoric from the Scottish government, as landlords leave the sector in fear of planned rent controls and a total ban on evictions.
“The Minister for Tenants’ Rights must stop portraying the entire private rented sector as ‘exploitative’ and understand the essential role private landlords play in Scotland’s housing sector.”
Students in particular have had a lack of properties available to rent.
The landlord group blamed this on the Private Residential Tenancy legislation, which was introduced in 2017. This made it so landlords were no longer able to offer fixed-term leases to match term times.
SAL called for open discussion about the correct size of the private rental sector in Scotland and for a massive increase in social housing.