10:07 AM, 4th October 2022, About A year ago
After the Scottish Government unveiled its proposed legislation that would bring in a rent freeze and a moratorium on evictions, one landlord organisation has hit out at ‘political rhetoric’.
The Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL) says that the SNP and Greens are pushing for ‘rhetoric over results’ and this stance is already affecting housing supply.
John Blackwood, the chief executive of SAL, points to the publication of the Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) Scotland Bill – which would introduce a rent freeze until March next year.
He said: “With this Bill, the SNP and Greens have put political rhetoric ahead of measures that would achieve real results in solving Scotland’s housing crisis.
“They have neglected the housing sector in Scotland, leaving it to crumble.
“Those needing a home shout for help, but no-one answers. Big promises of improvements never materialise. All the while, costs rise unchecked.”
However, Patrick Harvie, Scotland’s Tenants’ Rights Minister, says the new law is in response to an ‘emergency situation demanding an emergency response’.
Mr Blackwood says that the ‘overwhelming majority of landlords’ in Scotland want to invest in more housing, engage closely with tenants, improve and upgrade properties and keep rent levels affordable.
This is, he says, in the interests of both tenants and landlords.
Mr Blackwood added: “By approaching this problem in a political way, rather than as a serious policy discussion, the SNP and Greens have already caused investment to halt, with fewer homes available and people struggling to find somewhere to live.
“That is irresponsible whichever way you look at it.
“More than that, the policy is unravelling now it has hit the real world.
“The First Minister grandly announced there would be no more evictions at all but that has, thankfully, already been eroded to provide at least some basic provisions to allow landlords to protect communities from anti-social or criminal behaviour.”
He continued: “The ‘rent freeze’ that was supposed to be immediate is shown not to be quite as it appeared.
“The scope of the Bill is muddled, the processes unclear.
“We know the SNP and Greens will ram this Bill through but that will only result in poor law.”
Mr Blackwood pointed out that the proposed legislation is ‘full of holes’ and may well be open to legal challenge – especially around the protection of private property and ownership.
He added: “And for what? Cheap political headlines at the expense of actual solutions.
“Solutions that could have increased investment and the supply of housing while keeping rent levels affordable.
“The consequences of that lie firmly at the door of the SNP and Greens and their irresponsible approach to a housing crisis they have created.”
The Scottish Government’s rent freeze and eviction moratorium legislation: Scottish Government unveils its rent freeze legislation.
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