We respond to Parliamentary Committee Report on the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Bill

Sarah Speirs

Director, Scotland (RICS)

On the back of the Scottish Parliament’s Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee Stage One Report on the Private Housing (Tenancies)(Scotland) Bill, we've explored what this means for Scotland.

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Broadly welcomed changes to a changing PRS

This Bill, if approved by Parliament, will make for significant changes the private rental sector (PRS) in Scotland, so it's imperative that the proposals are given robust scrutiny. It's evident that the committee has undertaken significant engagement with stakeholders - from landlords, tenants, letting and agents and more - and this should applauded.

We broadly welcome this report into the Private Housing (Tenancies)(Scotland) Bill

Students vs Tourism

The committee’s call to contemplate our proposal to reconsider lets to students in relation to tourism - particularly in Edinburgh – is a welcome recommendation in the report. Indeed, we believe there should be further scoping and consultation exercises undertaken in conjunction with the tourism industry to assess the impact that this new tenancy regime may have on sector considering its importance to the economy.

Capped rent increases and rent pressure zones

We maintain that the proposed introduction of rent pressure zones (RPZs) could make Scotland uncompetitive when compared to the rest of the UK, and still has concerns due to the uncertainty that comes with potential rent rise caps.

We're therefore pleased that the report requests more information from Government on what the impact that RPZs might have on the PRS in Scotland – particularly in attracting much-needed institutional investment.

More supply required

Furthermore, the committee report recognises the need for housing supply to be increased across all tenures in Scotland, and this is great news. We concur with the notion as the increased supply will play a significant role in establishing the much-coveted stabilising of rises in rents and house prices.

We have made a number of recommendations in its Scotland Manifesto 2016: Shaping Scotland’s Housing Future, which is being launched on 20 January 2016.

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