Charity calls for Scottish PRS to be 'fit for purpose'
A homeless charity in Scotland has called on the government to reform the private rented sector to make it fit for increasing demand.
Shelter Scotland’s response to the government consultation on improving the private rented sector, which was launched in April, said the continuing growth in private renting means the government should not hold back in modernising the rental sector for the benefit of both tenants and landlords.
It suggested the government should focus on increasing consumer confidence in renting by driving up standards, cut red tape to resolve disputes quickly and fairly and offer stability and security of tenure to families and individuals who cannot afford, or do not wish to get onto the property ladder.
Last week, lettings company Citylets released data which showed the private rented sector in Scotland had almost doubled in the past five years. According to Shelter Scotland’s research, more families with children are living in private rented housing, up from 7 per cent in 1999 to 17 per cent in 2010. The charity also says more households are likely to stay in the private rented sector for longer periods of time.
The charity also said 31 per cent of calls to its helpline were from people who were privately renting, even though they represent only 11 per cent of households in Scotland.
Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said: ‘We believe that the time is now for Scotland to rebuild a private rental sector fit for the 21st century, one based on the foundations of security and fairness. Reform should focus on better information and access to advice for tenants and landlords, security of tenure and a speedier and less bureaucratic way of dealing with disputes.
‘Better regulation of the sector would also allow responsible landlords to thrive and allow firm action to be taken on those other landlords who undermine the reputation of the sector.’