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TPO director warns "anti-landlord" government

A new director of The Property Ombudsman in Scotland and chief executive of one of that country’s major letting agencies ia warning that country’s government to stop “moving down an anti-landlord path.”

In his column in the Edinburgh News, Malcolm Cannon says it is a popular myth that all landlords are unsympathetic and money-grabbing, and that tenants are a browbeaten community living in less than homely properties. 

“In Edinburgh, the reality is that the vast majority of landlords are ordinary working professionals or retirees, who have chosen to invest savings in property. The Braemore Index shows 92 per cent fall into this category, while only one per cent refer to themselves as full-time property developers” says Cannon, who runs Braemore letting agency.

But he says that despite that fact - and many independent surveys showing tenants largely content with the cost and quality of their properties - “the Scottish Government is moving down an anti-landlord path.” 

He says evidence of this is the SNP-led administration’s call for the removal of the ‘no fault’ clause which does away with the landlord’s right to terminate a tenancy at the end of the agreed lease period, and for its call for area-based rent controls “which most property experts believe will be hugely damaging for the sector, curtailing investment in the housing stock as well as in new development.” 

Cannon claims that for most Edinburgh landlords a fall in income could affect their own mortgage repayments and any intended repairs or upgrades to their property.

Cannon states that Scotland private rental sector has been working closely with the Holyrood government and others to introduce more robust redress, and has called for better landlord and lettings agency registration along with powers to penalise bad practice. 

“These have to be encouraged” he says, concluding: “Yet so far, swayed by the myths, the Government persists with its sledgehammer to crack a nut.”

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