The Scottish Government must bring the country’s housing emergency to an end, Propertymark argues.

Despite pledges from Holyrood to invest £400,000 to ensure that many of Scotland’s empty homes come back into use, Scottish Labour MSP Mark Griffin urged the nation’s First Minister, Humza Yousaf, to produce a statement on Scotland’s housing emergency by the end of March.

Housing emergencies have already been declared by Scottish councils such as Edinburgh, Glasgow and Argyll and Bute.

Instead of focusing on rent control, the Scottish Government should instead concentrate on cutting the six per cent surcharge for buy-to-let homes under the Land and Buildings Transactions Tax, review all taxes impacting private landlords, provide grants to support the private rented sector to ensure properties are more energy efficient, and construct additional social housing.

Looking forward, the concerns of the property industry must be heard, and Ministers must work across government to find solutions that bring about more housing options for people across tenures and reduce homelessness.

The Scottish Government must find positive solutions

Propertymark’s attempt to challenge the Scottish Government’s rent control and eviction ban under the Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) (Scotland) Act 2022 showed that the professional body would resist any disproportionate measures to thwart Scotland’s housing market, and highlighted the impact of their decisions can have on landlords, agents and tenants across Scotland.

Under the long-awaited Housing Bill, the Scottish Government must find positive solutions to the crisis that encourage landlords to stay in the market, who can be supported by professional letting agents.

Timothy Douglas, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Propertymark, comments:

“Mr Yousaf must listen and then promptly act on what is unwinding across Scotland’s housing sector. It is an unacceptable situation that we are witnessing an increasing number of local councils declaring housing emergencies. The housing budget from the Scottish Government has been cut and Propertymark is concerned that additional local authorities may also turn to calling housing emergencies across Scotland if ongoing concerns are not resolved with urgency.

“Ill-conceived legislation which formed parts of the Cost of Living Act has proven to be catastrophic, and Rent Caps have made many landlords extremely cautious regarding investment against a challenging backdrop of higher inflation and interest rates. The proposed transition period within the updated legislation, between 1 April 2024 to 1 April 2025, may be too little, too late to support landlords who have already exited the sector or are planning to exit.”