National Landlords Day
Last week our Lettings Director, Mark Hastie and New Business Director, Callum MacGregor, joined our industry colleagues, landlords and representatives from the Scottish Government for National Landlord Day. This annual gathering, organised by the Scottish Association of Landlords, is a great opportunity to catch up with our colleagues, speak with landlords in the Private Rented Sector and discuss and debate the latest changes and regulations affecting the industry.
As always, the event was very well attended and there was a real buzz around the venue this year due to the imminent implementation of the biggest change to the Private Rented Sector in decades – the introduction of the Private Residential Tenancy (PRT).
The new model tenancy has recently been published by the Scottish Government and lots of work has been going on behind the scenes as we all get ready to hit the ground running come the 1st December. In fact, the anticipation of this change and the lead in time and preparation that has happened means that the consensus is that there should be a very smooth transition to the new regime.
So, to the other main business of the day. The Scottish Government shows no sign of slowing down with their drive to regulate safety and energy efficiency standards in the Private Rented Sector in Scotland.
Indeed, with the tragedy at Grenfell Tower still fresh in our minds the topic of Fire Safety was top of the agenda.
There is currently an open consultation on Fire and Smoke Alarms in Scottish Home. The consultation seeks views on four options and advises as below:
1) A higher standard for social rented housing;
2) A new standard for flats, irrespective of tenure;
3) A new standard for flats only in high-rise buildings, irrespective of tenure;
4) A new standard for all housing, irrespective of tenure.
The implications from this consultation have the potential to reach wider than just the Private Rented Sector, where the standards are currently very high, and we would encourage all landlords to participate in it. You can access the consultation here. As always, we will keep you informed of changes as and when they are agreed and implemented.
Another key take-away for our landlords from the day was a valuable update on the consultation on Energy Performance Reforms, which we were invited to take part in in the Summer 2017. The consultation has been completed and the responses are currently being analysed before any firm decisions and actions are agreed. Valerie Sneddon from the Scottish Government gave a very informative update on the progress of the analysis. Though no decisions are forthcoming yet from this, it is noted that a commitment to introduce new energy efficiency standards in the private rented sector has been included in the Programme for Government 2017.
It was helpful to note that the potential impact to the proposed changes on the existing stock within the Private Rented Sector was not extensive. There are currently 30,000 properties at the proposed minimum standard of E – 9% of the PRS, and 95,000 at the proposed minimum standard of D – 28% of the PRS. There are fewer than 1,000 dwelling affected in 19 out of 32 local authorities.
With this in mind, we would caution that any increase in standards is unlikely to have a punitive effect on our existing managed portfolio. It is also worth noting that there are currently a number of finance schemes available to private landlords to assist with improving the energy efficiency of their portfolios including £32,500 per home interest free to registered private sector landlords in Scotland and cash back grants available for a limited time.
One thing is for certain, no-one in the Private Rented Sector will be standing still anytime soon as we continue to adapt and change to meet the needs of the industry. At Braemore, we are well positioned to continue to inform our landlords and support, contributing to a thriving Private Rented Sector.
We would like to thank the Scottish Association of Landlords for putting on such a full and well attended programme. As always, an informative and enjoyable day with lots to take away as we look to the year ahead.
To enquire about Braemore and our services, get in touch with us, here.