Scotland’s hostile landlord policies “killed the market”

Legislative changes in Scotland have been blamed on falling supply and rising rents – creating an overly competitive environment for tenants.

In July Hamptons found that average rents on newly let properties in Scotland have risen by 12.3%, compared to 8.3% across Great Britain as a whole.

What’s more Scotland had the largest share of agents forecasting further rent rises over the next three months according to RICS.

Last week First Minister Nicola Sturgeon opted to freeze rents until at least March, but the measure is seen as something of a sticking plaster that could further drive landlords out of the sector.

Back in 2017 the Scottish Government abolished no-fault evictions and scrapped assured shorthold tenancy agreements, two changes that are set to come into force in the UK.

It’s said that these are two policies that have already driven investors out.

Ken McEwan, of McEwan Fraser Legal estate agents, told The Telegraph: “Landlords are selling up and moving into commercial property, or they are just getting out altogether.

“Landlords are in tears on the phone to us regularly because they can’t get their tenants out.”

If landlords have grounds for eviction the creaking court system means it can take them 12 months to get possession of a property because there is such a court backlog.

McEwan added: “Demand outstrips supply by five to one. This has been the case since the Scottish government changed the legislation.

“They killed the market. I am seeing a massive exodus of Scottish landlords.”

Fraser Crichton of Dove Davies estate agents in Edinburgh claimed it’s only listing properties online for an hour or two in order to cope with the mass of enquiries from tenants.

He told The Telegraph that a two-bedroom flat was listed on Thursday night at 7:30pm, and in the space of 12 hours there were 130 enquiries.

Zoopla found that the supply of rental homes on the market in Scotland is at roughly half the level of the five-year average.

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