Landlord fears potential homelessness for tenants if new legislation forces landlords to sell

A landlord fears the consequences of rent freeze legislation will push many like him to sell their property as Scotland’s housing crisis rages on.

Emergency legislation aimed at freezing most rents until the end of March 2023 has been passed by the Scottish Government.

The legislation also provides for a six-month moratorium on evictions.

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A landlord has said he fears many landlords may sell, potentially causing homelessness across Scotland.
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However, Nick Kemp, an Edinburgh-based landlord, said he was worried he may have to sell one of his properties if he could not pass on costs and he feared this may make tenants across Scotland homeless.

The landlord said: “If you can’t pass on your costs in any way, then you are going to be left in a situation where you are going to have to sell.

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"I have a flat which tenants moved into during Covid with the rent 20 per cent less than it would be if it was the full market rent. Yet, I’m looking at 200 per cent cost increases and many landlords may be left with no other options, but to sell their property to pay off the loan. You would essentially be potentially making that person renting homeless.”

Average two-bedroom rents increased above the average 12 month UK CPI inflation rate of 1.5 per cent in ten out of 18 areas of Scotland in the year to end September 2021, according to Scottish Government figures.

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Living Rent said: "The Bill ... allows some landlords to increase rent by 3 per cent.

"Our wages are stagnant and our bills are increasing drastically. Any further increase is completely unaffordable.

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"Landlords should not be able to transfer their increased costs onto tenants who are already the hardest hit in this crisis."

Under the legislation, landlords will be able to begin eviction proceedings against tenants, but they cannot be removed from the property until the end of the restrictions.

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They would, however, be able to evict tenants if they plan to live in or sell the property because of “financial hardship”, or because of substantial rent arrears.

Eviction because of rent arrears must be cleared by a court or tribunal before it can be actioned.

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John Blackwood, the chief executive of the Scottish Association of Landlords, said: “With this Bill, the SNP and Greens have put political rhetoric ahead of measures that would achieve real results in solving Scotland’s housing crisis.”

Mr Kemp said the legislation “scares off” people becoming landlords due to an increase in costs and changing the rules to limit what landlords could do.

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He said there were “bad landlords” who exploited tenants, but the Scottish Government must create a targeted approach against those individuals instead of increasing regulations for all landlords.

"The problem is that there is an under-supply in housing, not that people in housing are being squeezed by their landlords”, Mr Kemp said.

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Mr Kemp said he was shocked when a couple contacted him to ask if they could stay in a garage he rents out for storage.

“I had heard of things like that in London, but never in Scotland,” he said. “I’ve never encountered that in my life and it’s really worrying people are that desperate. Scaring landlords out of the market isn’t going to help people who need housing.”

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