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Parliament looking at legislation

Petition raised against proposed rent controls

Rented propertyAn umbrella organisation representing the private rented sector (PRS) is demanding the Scottish Parliament does not introduce rent controls.

One of the prime movers behind a petition described the proposed legislation as ‘anti-tenant as well as anti-landlord’.

The petition, which can be viewed at www.prs.scot, seeks support for the view that ‘there is no role for the regulation of area-based rent limitations in Scotland’.

It is the work of PRS4 Scotland, an alliance of interests in the private rental sector, including agents, landlords, portals and investors.

It has been raised in reaction to the current government consultation on the private rented sector – including the issue of rent controls – which draws to a close on Sunday.

One of the figures behind the petition, veteran letting agent, David Alexander, warned politicians could find that rent controls lead to a negative response from tenants as well as landlords, which would put them on the receiving end of a “double whammy” at next year’s elections for the Scottish Parliament.

Mr Alexander, with 33 years in the business, said: “Government interference in setting rental levels would turn out to be as much anti-tenant as anti-landlord. Potential landlords will be scared off from entering the sector while many existing ones are likely to disinvest, which can only lead to a reduction in stock.

“At a time when young couples are finding difficulty in raising the large deposits required by mortgage lenders, what we need are more, not less, homes for rent. Politicians and pressure groups who believe that rent controls are a panacea should be careful what they wish for.”

Mr Alexander said that any suggestion of ‘rent controls’, even in a limited capacity would “terrify” investors both at home and abroad.

He continued: “Investment in Scottish property from south of the Border and overseas is a sign of confidence not only in our property market but in Scotland as a place to do business. However the recently-introduced LBTT rates are already disadvantaging Scotland among investors because the sales tax is higher than in England on properties of £350,000 and above.”

Mr Alexander also expressed concern at proposals for overt ‘letting controls’, including preventing a landlord repossessing a property unless he or she wishes to sell it or make it his or her own home.

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