Housing crisis

Plight of Scottish tenants revealed as housing crisis worsens

The housing crisis in the Scottish private rental sector (PRS) is rapidly worsening, leaving thousands of tenants in dire straits as they are unable to find accommodation.

This is the view of the Belvoir Group and Andrew Jack, of Belvoir in Edinburgh, said: ‘The current situation is incredibly difficult for tenants, and many of those looking to secure a rental property are feeling extremely frustrated and often disappointed.

“As an example, we have received over 9,000 requests from tenants over the past four weeks, which is unprecedented.

“We recently put two apartments on the market and within 48 hours we received over 1,000 inquiries for each of them from potential tenants.

“Not only is it logistically difficult to process 2,000 applications, but it is clear that we were only able to offer these apartments to two tenants, leaving 1,998 perfectly good potential tenants still looking to find housing.

The Scottish Government’s imposition of a rent freeze

Scotland’s housing crisis has been at the center of Property118.com in recent weeks with an article about the growing problem in Glasgow which sees tenants struggling to find accommodation to rent – and now the situation has been exacerbated by the imposition by the Scottish government of a rent freeze until next March.

The Scottish Landlords Association says the situation for landlords is bad and an increasing number of landlords will ‘remove properties’ from the private rental sector.

It’s the potential impact of a rent freeze and a moratorium on evictions that makes a difficult situation worse – not helped by Scottish Minister Patrick Harvie who was unable to answer questions about the freeze rents and its impact on landlords and tenants as rental housing. are removed from the sector.

Ron Campbell of Belvoir, of Northwood Dundee, echoed Mr Jack’s concerns and said: “We opened our office in 2009, and I can honestly say that the challenges facing tenants have never been greater. serious than they are now.

“Demand completely outstrips supply, and it is emotionally draining for my team members to continually deliver bad news to people who come to our offices day after day looking for a place to live, only to learn. that there is nothing available and hundreds of people are applying for absolutely every type of property, from one bedroom apartments to three and four bedroom family homes.

The housing crisis affects everyone

He added: “This is a housing crisis that affects everyone – from the growing number of overseas students returning to study in Scotland after Covid, to local families, business people and refugees.

“Unfortunately, for every property that comes onto our books, we have probably lost four properties from existing stock, as owners who have been with us for many years now feel pressured to leave the market.

“While we are doing our best to encourage sales to new and existing landlords, many investors worried about rent controls, including the recently announced eviction moratorium, are feeling nervous.

“I hope there will be some sort of consultation between the Minister of Housing and our industry to resolve these issues, otherwise it is a situation that will only get worse.”

“Chronic Housing Shortage in Scotland”

Dorian Gonsalves, managing director of the Belvoir Group, said: ‘There is currently a chronic shortage of accommodation in Scotland due to consistent undersupply over the past decade, and now the PRS is in total crisis, which results in an extremely worrying time for tenants.

“Statistics from Scottish Household Surveys show that in 2016 the Scottish PRS accounted for 15% of households in the country, with around 370,000 households.

“In the 2018 survey, 340,000 households were registered. Additionally, figures released by the Scottish Government in February 2020 confirm that the figure had again fallen to 325,649 properties.

“The market evidence shows that numbers have continued to fall since then, leading to a loss of more than 14% of homes available to private tenants.”

“Rent control almost always shrinks rental properties”

He added: “Rent controls, such as those recently announced in Scotland, almost always reduce the number of rental properties available to tenants, and this follows a stream of legislation clearly aimed at driving landlords out of the market.

“The result, we believe, is a very real danger of thousands more rental properties being lost to the market, which will only exacerbate the problem for tenants, and we must always remember that every lost property in the area rental is someone’s house.”