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Scottish Rental Market Sees Drastic Reduction in Properties, Industry Chief Highlights

John Blackwood, Chief Executive of the Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL), has raised the alarm over the diminishing number of rental properties in Scotland, attributing the decline to what he describes as ‘hostile policies’ from the government. According to SAL, the Scottish rental market may have seen a reduction of approximately 22,000 properties in the past year alone, with over half of the property owners contemplating a reduction in their portfolio sizes.

The association points to government and political animosity towards landlords, coupled with the tightening of regulations in the rental market, as the primary catalysts for this significant drop. A survey conducted by SAL found that landlords withdrew an average of 6.4% of their properties from the market last year. Extrapolated across Scotland’s entire Private Rented Sector (PRS), this equates to a potential loss of around 21,760 homes out of the estimated 340,000, highlighting a critical factor in the ongoing housing crisis in Scotland.

The findings suggest a grim outlook for the future of the rental market, with a majority of landlords indicating plans to scale back their portfolios in the coming five years. Blackwood warns, “Landlords have been warning for the past few years that the combination of anti-landlord rhetoric along with short-term, ineffective policies are harming investment in private rented housing in Scotland.”

He added, “These chickens are now coming home to roost as landlords lose confidence and are choosing to exit the sector. This is reducing supply and driving up costs for tenants and causing significant harm.”

With SAL members owning or managing approximately 159,300 properties, representing 47% of the Scottish PRS, the impact of these trends could have far-reaching implications for both the availability and affordability of rental housing in Scotland.