Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Scottish Government plans better protection for private sector tenants from rogue landlords, improved services, consultation announced

The Scottish Government have today announced plans for better protection for Scotland’s 270,000 plus private sector tenants against rogue landlords and dishonest charges along with a CONSULTATION running from 17th April until 10th July 2012.

Better protection for tenants


More than 270,000 private sector tenants in Scotland will get better protection and improved services, under plans unveiled by the Scottish Government today. As well as helping people deal with the small number of rogue landlords, a consultation launched by Housing Minister Keith Brown, will help improve the system for the vast majority of private landlords who provide a good service to tenants.

With an increasing number of people choosing to live in private rented accommodation, the consultation, will give tenants a voice to help shape the sector and ensure it is fit for purpose with demand set to substantially increase over the coming years. The consultation is based on the work of the Private Rented Sector Strategy Group, supported by the Scottish Government over the past six months. Proposals include:

A simpler, more targeted regulatory system for the private rented sector, focusing enforcement action on those landlords who give tenants a poor deal, cause safety and management concerns and tarnish the image of the sector.

Increased effective partnership working between a range of public services such as housing, social work, education and police to identify and prosecute the small group of exploitative and unprofessional landlords bring the reputation of the private rented sector into disrepute.

Help for landlords and communities dealing with tenants who engaged in anti-social behaviour

Achieving quicker and more effective justice for tenants and landlords in dispute through reform of the courts and consideration of the role of a new housing panel model.

Speaking at the Shelter Scotland and Scottish Association of Landlords New Beginnings in the Private Rented Sector Conference in Glasgow today, Keith Brown, Minister for Housing and Transport said: "We are making great strides in giving the people of Scotland a voice in the issues that affect them most. In housing rentals, much has been done to eradicate rogue practices and introduce a fairer regime to support and engage tenants. The private rented sector continues to thrive at a pace, and to meet the growing demand, new ways to increase the supply of new private rented housing to help meet the overall demand for housing in Scotland need to be identified. At the same time we need to ensure that tenants are able to make more informed choices by equipping them with better information on their and their landlords rights and responsibilities.”

Mr Brown continued : "A small group of exploitative and unprofessional landlords bring the reputation of the private rented sector into disrepute and undermine the work done by the many good landlords who provide good quality homes with high management standards. The Scottish Government is committed to enabling effective action to help remove the small minority of rogue landlords from the private rented sector and to ensure that local authorities have the powers that they need to tackle this problem. I would like to thank the Private Rented Sector Strategy Group for producing this consultation and encourage all stakeholders to engage with us by offering feedback and comment."

Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland, said: “This is a big step in the right direction to create a 21st century private rented sector based on the foundations of security, fairness and affordability. We welcome the proposed introduction of a simpler, more targeted regulatory system and believe that responsible landlords will rise to the challenge of regulation to raise standards. The consultation will also give a voice to tens of thousands of tenants who call the PRS home, and help to ensure their consumer rights are protected. I am confident that Scotland can lead the way in the UK to develop a rental market with strong foundations – bringing stability for tenants and promoting growth in the sector through responsible letting."

John Blackwood, Director, Scottish Association of Landlords added: "This consultation marks a significant milestone in housing management. Our members are committed to working alongside partners, the industry and tenants to improve the private sector rental market. We hope this generates further discussions on how we can work together to enhance the services we deliver, across the spectrum of landlords we represent."

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