Conference to put PRS tenancy agreement proposal under the spotlight

Graeme Brown
Graeme Brown

Reforming Scotland’s private rented sector to make it fit for the 21st Century and fair for all is the theme of a major conference taking place today.

The sell-out event, ‘Making Renting Right’, will see politicians, key stakeholders, academics and housing sector representatives gather in Edinburgh for the annual Shelter Scotland conference on the private rented sector.

A key topic for debate will be the detail of the proposed new private tenancy agreement - which is part of a new bill due to go before the Scottish Parliament in October - and how it will affect tenants and landlords.

The conference will be chaired by John Blackwood, chief executive of the Scottish Association of Landlords. Keynote speaker is Kath Scanlon from London School of Economics, who will share international experience of private rented sector reforms. Housing and welfare minister, Margaret Burgess MSP, will also address the conference.

The conference will also consider other topics including social investment in the private rented sector, how to increase tenant engagement, tenancy deposit schemes and letting agent regulation.

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said: “This conference is an opportunity to hear views from across the housing sector and discuss how we can secure long-term solutions of stability and security - particularly for low-income households and families - and work towards delivering a sector fit for the 21st century.

“We need a private rented sector that is modern, stable, flexible, predictable and fair for those individuals and families that call it home. We want to see a private rented sector across Scotland that provides long-term homes, not short-term housing, for the 312,000 households who now rely on it – which includes more than 80,000 families with children.”

John Blackwood, chief executive of the Scottish Association of Landlords, said: “Once again I’m delighted to be chairing this event and welcome the opportunity that this conference offers by bringing together industry representatives and the third sector to discuss how we can find consensus in helping to support a well-functioning private rented sector in Scotland.

“Ensuring a fair, competitive and robust private rented sector is crucial to the future success of the industry, as well as recognising and encouraging existing good practice.  Whilst the Scottish Association of Landlords fears that the proposed reforms will create greater instability in rental incomes and landlord-tenant relationships, we understand that only by working together can we increase supply, attract investment and improve standards in order to successfully tackle the housing crisis Scotland is facing. The Scottish Government is committed to stimulating growth and investment in the sector and together we need to ensure that goal is achieved.”

Graeme Brown added: “The benefits of reform would not just be felt by tenants.  Landlords too would see a more constant and predictable income with less downtime between rents and a more stable relationships with their tenants.

“We are asking people to support our calls for positive reform of the private rented sector and to turn it into a place where the increasing numbers of people who rely on it can make a house a home and live with increased security and dignity.”

The Making Renting Right conference is sponsored by Scottish Gas and comes at a time when the Scottish Government’s consultation on proposals to reform tenancies in the private rented sector has just closed.



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