News Policy

A new dawn for Scotland’s private rented sector

James Battye
Written by James Battye

This year heralds the biggest change to Scotland’s private rented sector for a generation.

From December 2017 anyone signing a new tenancy for a private let will sign the new Private Residential Tenancy, all landlord and tenant disputes will be heard in a new specialist tribunal and from January 2018 all letting agents will be required to register and adhere to a code of practice. The new tenancy will provide tenants with indefinite security of tenure, subject to the grounds for eviction, meaning an end to “no-fault” evictions.

Make no mistake – this is a huge step forward for private renters in Scotland.

There are now 370,000 households renting from private landlords in Scotland – a number which has tripled since 1999. And around a quarter of these households contain children. A group of renters who desperately need the security and stability of a permanent home.

It is our hope that this trio of measures will put tenants who need this security and stability on a much stronger footing when it comes to making a private let a home, and asking for essential repairs to be carried out.

Crucial to the success of these reforms is knowledge among tenants, landlords and agents of the changes, and that’s why they take centre stage at Shelter Scotland’s private rented sector conference, which takes place on Wednesday the 25th of October at St Paul’s and St George’s Church in Edinburgh. Delegates will have a chance to get up to speed with these changes and debate the future direction of private rented sector policy.

Dr Jim McCormick, adviser to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation in Scotland, will chair the event and we’ll have a keynote session from Professor Christine Whitehead from the London School of Economics. Christine will bring her extensive insight into the UK’s housing market and provide her take on the Scottish Government-led reform programme in the wider context of other changes to renting policy in the UK.

In the workshop sessions attendees will have the opportunity to delve deeper into issues including:

  • the new Private Residential Tenancy,
  • Rent Pressure Zones,
  • how local authorities are working with landlords to improve standards, and
  • Shelter Scotland’s Letting Agent Plus project.

With so much going on in private sector housing policy it has never been more important to get informed and take part in the debate about the role and future of the sector.

Book now to make sure you don’t miss out. 

About the author

James Battye

James Battye

I manage Shelter Scotland’s Oak Foundation funded private rented sector project work. The project is focussed on increasing private tenants’ consumer voice in Scotland, supporting new initiatives to encourage best-practice amongst letting agents and working with private landlords in Dundee and Lochaber to improve standards.