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Shelter report needs more work

Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

Shelter’s claims over the impact of changes affecting the private rental sector in Scotland are misleading says the RLA.

Scotland has recently abolished so called ‘no-fault’ evictions and fixed term tenancies, as well as banning fees and introducing rent controls.

In a report out today Shelter concludes these changes have been a success – and have not had a profoundly negative impact on the PRS north of the border.

However, the RLA has a number of issues with the report. 

The association also believes it is not comparing like with like – with the Scottish housing sector very different to that in England – and that it ignores important aspects of the way these were brought in.

Scotland introduced a new housing tribunal – the First-tier Tribunal’s Housing and Property Chamber – before it abolished its version of Section 21, meaning there was a mechanism in place for the increased number of repossession cases.

The RLA also feels it is too early to draw conclusions – as the changes were only introduced 18 months ago – with Shelter using figures from BEFORE they were brought in.

Shelter, for its part, accepts this – stating in the conclusion of its report: “Official data has a time-lag and there is only a small amount available which covers the period since the new tenancies were introduced in late 2017.”

Housing court

David Smith, policy director for the Residential Landlords Association said: “Shelter fails to recognise key differences between England and Scotland.

“The only reason the Scottish model has worked is because a properly funded and staffed housing court was established to cope with the dramatic increase in repossession cases needing to be heard.

“Across England and Wales, it takes an average of over five months for landlords to repossess properties through the courts. This is not good enough. 

“We call on Shelter to back the RLA’s plans for a dedicated housing court that can process repossession claims in legitimate circumstances without frustrating landlords. Simply tinkering with the existing courts will not work.”

He added: “It is also disappointing that in arguing that changes in Scotland have affected the supply of homes for rent, Shelter has used figures from before the changes were introduced.

“As the latest data from the Royal Institution for Chartered Surveyors notes clearly, whilst the demand for new homes to rent has increased considerably in Scotland, new landlord instructions have fallen, providing less choice for tenants.”

Find out more: 

  • In an exclusive interview for the RLA’s members magazine, Residential Property Investor, John Blackwood chief executive of the Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL) shared his thoughts about the changes and their consequences.  To read the article in full click here.
  • When abolishing its own version of Section 21, known as Section 33 the Scottish government also introduced a robust set of grounds under which landlord could legitimately repossess their properties. To read more about these click here.
  • To read more about the government’s plans to abolish Section 21 click here.
  • The RLA has been calling for a dedicated housing court for several years now. To read more about the proposals click here.

About the author

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley is the Magazine and Digital Editor for the NRLA. With 20 years’ experience writing for regional and national newspapers and magazines she is responsible for editing our members' magazine 'Property', producing our articles for our news site, the weekly and monthly bulletins and editorial content for our media partners.

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