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Letting agent warns scottish minister: rent controls may deter investment

David Alexander, CEO of DJ Alexander, has urged Scotland’s Housing Minister Paul McLennan to amend proposed rent control policies, warning that failing to do so could drive investment away from the private rented sector.

Call for Immediate Action
In a recent statement, Alexander highlighted the lack of concrete plans in McLennan’s recent address, which focused on collaboration but provided little detail on actionable steps. “There may well be more meetings and discussions planned but realistically we need to have action sooner rather than later,” Alexander stated.

He added, “Mr McLennan said that his government is committed to ‘rent controls measures that contribute to a private rented sector that works for tenants and responsible landlords and to investors’ and that he ‘believes that the private rented sector plays a vital role in addressing housing need’. But there are no actions to back this up other than details of further meetings and a call for a collaborative approach.”

All-Tenure Approach and Further Meetings
McLennan informed Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) that he plans to engage with the Scottish Association of Landlords to discuss their role in an ‘all-tenure approach’. He said, “We will build on instances of successful joint working already in place. I urge landlords and other partners to continue to work together to explore what more can be done.”

Despite these assurances, Alexander remains sceptical about the effectiveness of these discussions without immediate, tangible actions. “The time for action is now rather than at some point in the future and everyone involved in the sector needs a detailed breakdown of changes to the Housing Scotland Bill and the Heating in Buildings Bill which will make investing in the private rented sector an attractive proposition in the future,” he asserted.

Implications for the Private Rented Sector
Alexander’s concerns resonate with many in the private rented sector, where uncertainty about future regulations could potentially stifle investment. The sentiment is that without clear and favourable policies, the sector may struggle to attract and retain investors, ultimately impacting the availability and quality of rental housing.

As the debate over rent control continues, the focus remains on finding a balanced solution that supports both tenants and landlords while ensuring a healthy investment climate. Alexander’s call for prompt and definitive action reflects the urgency felt by many stakeholders in the housing market.

The ongoing discussions and planned meetings are seen as insufficient without immediate and concrete actions to support the private rented sector. The response from the government and its ability to provide clear guidance and support will be critical in shaping the future of rental housing in Scotland.