Members of the Scottish Parliament are being urged to back a register of blacklisted tenants in an effort to crack down on the increasing number of rent dodgers who set up in properties and then refuse to leave.
Gerry Mclellan is a disgruntled landlord who takes pride in looking after his properties and protecting them with landlord insurance. He has now lodged a petition calling for action and he is backed by the country’s national organisation for landlords who feel the problem also affects people living in neighbouring properties. Gerry is now calling for clear guidelines to be put in place to ensure speedier convictions along with a national database of previously blacklisted tenants. He believes the government must strengthen the legal means to evict bad tenants and ensure landlords can recover any money owed and not be out of pocket by, in some cases, thousands of pounds.
Gerry McLellan said: “Too many people are now suffering due to lazy louts who truly believe they are entitled to move into other peoples’ properties, trash them, stay as long as they want and refuse to pay any money. Landlords are now required to register. Tenants should be afforded the same courtesy.”
The appeal for action has the support of the SAL (Scottish Association of Landlords) who are aware that a large number of tenants have overstayed their welcome by a considerable period of time. They also pointed out that it has become a lot more difficult for landlords to properly check out their tenants, and they just do not know who they are allowing to live in their properties. Professional landlords now believe a system involving a tenants’ register, where previous landlords have vouched for them as good tenants would be a step in the right direction. A Scottish Government spokeswoman said its strategy for the private rented sector will be published before Christmas.
Military veterans and their bereaved families are set to benefit from a new scheme that will help first-time buyers onto the property ladder. The Scottish Government is investing £13 million into a shared equity programme that will allow the buyer to spread the cost.
The scheme is part of the Scottish Government’s Low-Cost Initiative for First Time Buyers (LIFT), and will be open to those who rent a property that is protected by landlord insurance from either a housing association or the local council. The scheme will allow the successful applicants to use shared equity to buy a property from a housing association, private developer or on the open market. The buyer will take a majority share in a property while the Scottish Government will pay the rest. If and when the property is sold, the Government will receive the value at the time of sale of the percentage equity stake they originally funded.
Housing Minister, Keith Brown, said: “With mortgages harder to access, we are committed to doing all we can to help people on low to moderate incomes across Scotland get on the property ladder where this is affordable for them. These schemes also help our brave armed forces and veterans secure a roof over their heads. It is important that people who have served this country with distinction should have access to this type of assistance.”
House building throughout Scotland has been through tough times during recent years and this investment offers great value for money for both taxpayers and buyers. It will also help the economy by kick-starting more new housing developments and keeping jobs in the construction industry. As well as delivering at least 30,000 new affordable homes over the course of this current parliament, the scheme will help buyers overcome the need for high deposits which are an unrealistic goal for everyone who will benefit from this investment.
The Dumfries and Galloway area of Scotland looks set to benefit from a £13million scheme to build one-hundred new affordable properties across the region. Experts predict the scheme will free up the region’s pressured housing market, not to mention boosting the construction industry.
Councillors will be presented with a proposal on Friday 23rd September where they will be asked to commit to taking out a £9 million loan (70% of the cost). The new homes will be provided for the rental market to start with but eventually they will be sold in order for the money to be recouped. The scheme will be part of the Scottish Government’s National Housing Trust, whose aim it is to provide more affordable homes throughout Scotland. The homes will be targeted for mainly rural areas across the region of Dumfries and Galloway.
If given the green light, the scheme will aim to deliver new-build properties that will be available for rent for between five to ten years. The properties will be covered by landlord insurance up until the time comes to sell them. When the homes are sold, the money generated will be used to repay the council loans to the Public Work Loans Board. The council loan will be guaranteed by the Coalition and will stay in place if any change in Government is made and it will run for the proposed rental period of up to 10 years. The proposal would see both houses and flats with between two and four bedrooms built, mainly in small villages.
Development manager Mr O’Neill said: “The report also recommends that properties made available through the National Housing Trust scheme are primarily targeted at households on low to moderate incomes who are currently on Registered Social Landlord waiting lists and currently not in a priority group for accessing social housing. Sitting tenants will be given the first opportunity to purchase their property when the developer opts to instigate the sale. Should the tenant not opt to buy, it is proposed that local Registered Social Landlords are given the next option to purchase.”
Members of the Scottish Parliament have given the green light to the second reading of the Private Rented Housing Bill and landlords across Scotland will be well advised to scrutinise the new bill to ascertain exactly what it demands from them.
The bill proposes to weed out that group of landlords who are letting the rest of them down and will have the power to hit them with huge fines and stop them operating as landlords altogether.
The bill will give Local Authorities the scope to tighten their regulations around landlords passing the “fit and proper person” test and will increase the maximum fine for landlords transgressing licensing and registration offences in homes of multiple occupation up to £50,000. Landlords do not legally require landlord insurance and so this does not come under any legislation but most landlords will see the sense in organising protection of their property without being prompted.
The architect of the bill, Housing Minister Alex Neil, said “The people we have to tackle is the small minority, very often geographically concentrated, who give landlordism a bad name.
“But at the same time we want to ensure that the regulation being put in place is proportionate, while protecting the rights of tenants and landlords and to develop a longer term strategy for the sector’s growth.
“I believe the Bill plays its part by giving local authorities greater powers to tackle bad practice and penalise unlawful operators, as well as improving tenants and landlords’ awareness of their rights and responsibilities.”
Mr Neil said the legislation gives Local Authorities the powers to once and for all get rid of the rogue landlord and will help respectable landlords and tenants to get on with providing decent accommodation to those in the private housing sector.