Readers of my blogs will know of my disappointment to recent announcements by George Osborne in relation to the private rental sector and the ability to offset mortgage interest against rental income.

I was even more disappointed to hear in the Scottish Parliament’s version of the Queens Speech the plans for introducing local rent controls through a private tenancy bill.  This was in the face of the Scottish Government’s own consultation showing that 7 in 10 respondents were against controls.  Small to medium property investors are already spooked by the Chancellor’s recent budget announcement and the talk of rent controls will do nothing to allay these fears.  I fear that the knock on impact will be a drying up of the number of rental properties coming onto the market.

There are improvements that could be made to assist the quality of Scotland’s housing stock and still give protection to tenants but rent control is not one of them.  It was tried in the past and failed then and it will ultimately fail now.

I would much rather see a licensing system for all rental properties, a system to make it easier for the majority of owners of the block to appoint a factor to deal with common repairs and more focus on increasing the amount of properties being built.  From Zimbabwe land grabs to Soviet rent controls I am concerned that the Scottish Government is on the wrong track in relation to the Scottish property market.

Lindsay Darroch
Partner – Head of Property

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