SCOTTISH TENANCY REFORM: LANDLORD VIEWS

SCOTTISH TENANCY REFORM: LANDLORD VIEWS

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) works closely with the Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL) on UK-wide issues to provide a common approach and share resources for the benefit of members.

The RLA conducted research – a survey of Scottish landlords and letting agents – regarding Scotland’s recent tenancy reform. Specifically:

  • The new Private Residential Tenancy regime;
  • The introduction of a dedicated tribunal system which aims to provide landlords and tenants with a fast track to dispute resolution and expediate landlord possession where necessary.

Introduction

In September 2019, RLA PEARL conducted a survey of SAL members to seek insight on the impact of tenancy and possession reforms on Scottish landlords. Specifically, the survey collected landlord and letting agent opinions of (i) the new Private Residential Tenancy regime and (ii) the introduction of a dedicated tribunal system.

Our survey sent to Scottish Association of Landlords members received 88 responses, almost entirely consisting of landlords and letting agents. 

Tenancy agreements and the tribunal system

Most landlords found the tenancies easy to complete and the on-line advice tools were widely seen as a positive.  However – over half of respondents anticipate the new tenancies being difficult to enforce.

Amongst those who had made a claim to take back possession of a property:  Most agreed the new tribunal system was, overall,  an improvement on the previous court system.

Yet many found it difficult to say the process was either quicker or more efficient that what had gone before. This may be a product of the difficulties faced by the system in dealing with an unanticipated surge in cases when introduced.

Consequences

Despite the concern of landlords when legislation was introduced, there was no reported pattern of tenants taking advantage of the new tenancies to curtail their residence and move more frequently. However the results of the survey indicated other effects on the PRS may be a consequence of these changes:

  • A significant proportion said they would have to raise rents.
  • Many landlords may be becoming more selective in their choice of tenant.
  • A substantial proportion of landlords may move their property into the holiday let/AirBnB market.

Conclusions

Respondents generally found the changes to be an improvement, and the accompanying resources useful and accessible.

Negative comments about the changes tended to be speculative concerns regarding the future effect on business. These could be resolved as the process improves and experience replaces perception.

However, the loss of Section 33 (the Scottish equivalent of Section 21 in England & Wales) may have a profound  impact on the PRS in Scotland through a loss of housing supply as landlords move out of the sector.

This post was written by Aidan Crehan, with additional comment by Nick Clay also of the RLA. The views here are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of either the RLA or SAL.

Aidan Crehan

Aidan Crehan is Policy Assistant for the RLA. He is a politics graduate from Queen’s University Belfast, receiving First Class Honours and the Lemberger-Metrick prize. Aidan has previously worked with Northern Ireland’s Department for Communities, specifically focusing on community cohesion projects.