Are rent controls good or bad for private landlords?
I am often not a little offended by the constant reports in the press about bad private landlords, rouge landlords, greedy landlords… I’m not saying that all landlords are perfect but, in my experience, they are generally fair and understanding. I personally contacted all my tenants at the start of the pandemic to offer reductions where necessary and let them know I was available to discuss any unforeseen problems arising from it. I always have a discussion with my tenants about any upcoming rent increase to decide on this together.
So why rent controls?
In my opinion, it’s pure and simple: The Scottish government has failed to provide enough social housing. It’s easier to lay the blame for this on landlords, or certainly, pass the costs over to Landlords to get more votes from renters at no cost to themselves.
Will rent controls work?
Going by the other countries that have rent controls in place the answer has to be no. The Scottish government has told us that we are behind other European countries on rent controls but they don’t remark on how these policies are failing. Here are just some of the recent headlines in the news:
bbc.co.uk – Why rent control isn’t working in Sweden
cityam.com – Sweden’s disastrous experiment with rent controls…
austriancenter.com – Rent control has failed in Sweden
Where does this leave private landlords?
I feel that with a very onerous and unfair tax regime for landlords in Scotland along with a 4% additional supplement when buying a home to rent out and changes to interest relief on mortgages rent controls will ultimately lead to less property to rent and less investment on these properties. Therein, we are left with a deteriorating private rental sector in Scotland.
How do we manage rent controls as a landlord?
Firstly, we need to have our rents as high as possible to start with. Then consistently increase the rent every year by the allowed amount. Just going by the rate of housing association rent increases this will probably be higher and more frequent than previously. There is much reference to this in news:
scottishhousingnews.com – Scotland’s eye-watering private sector rent increases
landlordzone.co.uk – Rent controls in Scotland will be catastrophic warn agents
gov.scot – Social tenants Scotland
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