I believe it is vital that we strike the right balance in the law between certainty and stability for renters, and security and flexibility for landlords. It is important that the law ensures that renters have the support and dignity that they deserve, but we must also be sure not to deter good landlords from the market, since this would reduce choice for renters and drive up rents.
I am pleased that the UK Government has launched a consultation to consider how barriers to landlords offering longer tenancies in England can be overcome – in particular the option of a three-year minimum tenancy term with a six-month break clause, which would provide greater certainty for landlords and tenants alike.
This is a devolved issue in Scotland, where the Scottish Government have passed legislation to introduce indefinite tenancies, among a range of other changes to the system. While I agree that more needed to be done to protect Scottish tenants, I believe that some of the changes made in that legislation will jeopardise investment in Scotland’s private rental sector, which would risk making the market more adverse for both landlords and tenants in the long run.
I know my Scottish Conservative colleagues in Holyrood will continue to advocate for renters and landlords alike, and will also continue to hold the SNP-led Scottish Government to account for its poor record on housing. As of 2016, the number of houses being built every year in Scotland was under 17,000 – considerably less than when the SNP came to power in 2007, and just half of the target the SNP had set for themselves when they were first elected.