Landlords urge MSPs to 'think again' over new laws on tenant evictions

Landlords have raised concerns over the plans to make laws introduced at the height of the pandemic permanent.

Landlords urge MSPs to ‘think again’ over permanent Covid laws on tenant evictions iStock
The final stages of the Coronavirus (Recovery and Reform) Bill will be debated at the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday.

MSPs have been urged to “think again” before making new laws on tenant evictions.

It comes ahead of the final stages of the Coronavirus (Recovery and Reform) Bill being debated at the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday.

The legislation includes plans to make emergency powers granted during the coronavirus pandemic permanent.

At the height of the pandemic, a moratorium was brought in on tenant evictions, except in special circumstances approved by a tribunal.

Landlords have raised concerns that if the plans go ahead, confidence in selling homes could be lost.

John Blackwood, chief executive of the Scottish Association of Landlords, said: “We are appealing to our parliamentarians to think again over these proposals.

“There is a tried and tested eviction process which already works well and protects tenants and landlords.

“There is a very real danger that if this goes ahead landlords will lose confidence and simply sell homes at a time when they are in great need.”

Sarah Jane Laing, chief executive of Scottish Land & Estates, whose members rent around 3,000 homes in rural Scotland, said that Holyrood should “step back” and look again at the proposals in detail.

“This is a prime example where the consequences have not been thought through,” she said.

“Whether you are a landlord with a single buy to let flat or someone with multiple properties, the prospect of not being able to regain possession of the home you own scares landlords, driving them from the sector and reducing availability of homes for tenants.

“The Scottish Parliament should take a step back and look at this again in further detail.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Over the last 20 years, there have been a range of necessary changes to the private rented sector aimed at improving quality and accountability.

“And, although stakeholders have often warned that such changes would lead to a reduction in supply of private rented homes, the private rented sector has more than doubled over that time.

“Our policies continue to seek improvements in the sector to ensure tenants are treated fairly and can access good-quality properties, and we will continue to seek views.

“Good landlords recognise the case for keeping tenants in their homes where possible, so adding a final check from the tribunal will support responsible management, recognise financial and other pressures that tenants can face and help prevent homelessness.

“Since 2007, we have delivered 111,750 affordable homes, with over 78,000 for social rent, and have now started towards our new ambitious target of 110,000 affordable homes by 2032, of which at least 70% will be available for social rent and 10% will be in our remote, rural and island communities.”