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Letscotland, the largest letting agent representative body, says Labour move is well-meaning but will have unintended consequences
Letscotland, the industry representative arm of Lettingweb, has called on MSPs to reject Labour’s proposed amendments to the Housing Bill when they are debated at Holyrood later today.
Labour’s amendments propose to introduce rent controls and to change the conditions of lease tenure.
Commenting, Letscotland Chairman Malcolm Warrack said:
“I have met Labour’s representatives on a number of occasions and I have absolutely no doubt that they mean well. They clearly have tenants in their thoughts when constructing their policy.
“However, sometimes policies which look appealing to a particular group turn out to have the opposite effect. Such an unintended consequence would undoubtedly unfold here.
“Rent rises in the private sector have, in most local authority areas, been below the rate of inflation over the last five years-or-so, when the sector has been expanding. Moreover, the short assured tenancy is popular with tenants, and indeed over 90% of lease-breaks are tenant-initiated.
“The market is working well, and an attempt to interfere through rent controls and tenure reform will create significant uncertainty and discourage investment. This will inevitably lead to a reduction in the supply of rental homes, which will push up the price of renting. Labour’s amendments, in other words, could cause precisely the problem they are trying to solve.”
Commenting on rapidly rising rents in certain areas, Mr Warrack said:
“In certain hot-spots, such as Aberdeen, rises have been above inflation, but that has been as a result of a lack of supply in the sector. The way to tackle the issue is to create an environment for more investment in housing for private rent.”
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