Cut of 36,000 homes to rent in Scotland

There could be a cut of more than 36,000 homes available to rent in Scotland as over a third of private landlords look to reduce the number of properties they let out, leading to more housing shortages, Scotland’s largest membership organisation for the sector warned today.

The Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL) says the Scottish Government must dump damaging rhetoric criticising private landlords and, instead, encourage investment in the sector plus accelerate plans to build more homes for social rent.

SAL has published the results of a member survey of 635 of its members, with a collective private rented sector (PRS) portfolio of 4,214 properties, which found 34% are planning to reduce their portfolio in the next ten years.

Even assuming a modest reduction of one property per landlord, this would lead to a fall of over 36,000 properties available to rent across Scotland with the two most commonly given reasons being increased regulation in the sector (62%) and perceived hostility from government (60%).

SAL points out that reductions in available properties to rent in the Autumn led to hundreds of people looking for a home, with many landlords and agents reporting that they had no properties available for months at a time.  The organisation warns that without change, that crisis will only get worse in the coming months and years.

A recent study by the University of Glasgow also found most tenants who would lose their homes if a landlord chose to sell would not be in a position to access home ownership, thus increasing pressure on social housing and homelessness services.

Speaking on the publication of the survey results, John Blackwood, chief executive of the Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL), said:

“The private rented sector plays a key role in providing good quality housing in Scotland.  Those who think anti-landlord rhetoric is doing any other than making it harder for people to keep a roof over their heads are kidding themselves.”

“Our members are very clear.  Demonising landlords is leading to fewer homes being available to rent in the coming decade.  We also know that many renting tenants are normally not in a position to access home ownership. Tenants who cannot access the private sector will only pile pressure onto already strained social housing and homelessness services.”

“Increasing the supply of rented accommodation is the only way forward. The Scottish Government needs to support private landlords and encourage investment in the private rented sector while also building more social homes to rent and doing that a lot faster.  Otherwise far from tackling Scotland’s current housing crisis, we will only see it get worse.”

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