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This is how rent controls could work - one agent's view

A senior lettings agent and property management company owner has set out how rent controls could work in very specific circumstances - but he warns that a widespread application of them would be a straitjacket for the market.

David Alexander, who runs DJ Alexander - one of the highest-profile property management firms in the industry - says that he does not damn rent controls in every circumstance.

In an article in The Scotsman, Alexander writes: “What could be workable, for example, is a light-touch system where, especially in areas of high demand, annual rental rises to sitting tenants are increased by inflation plus, say, one or two per cent (assuming annual inflation was fairly stable and the landlord’s net rental return, after inflation, was not overtaken by swiftly rising costs).”


However, Alexander then speaks out against what he calls “rent controls of a more draconian nature.” 

These have been put forward in recent days by the new SNP-Green Party partnership which has a combined majority in the Scottish Parliament. 

Details have not yet been finalised but rent controls, at least as envisaged by the Greens, would be points-based and ensure that housing costs represent no more than 25 per cent of a household’s income, with tenants’ unions rolled out across the country.

Alexander, in his article this week, says the bureaucracy behind rent controls would be extreme, to calculate maximum rents in properties based on type, location and square footage. 



He continues: “Contrary to what some believe, landlords are not making squillions. There is still a fine balance between rental income and capital growth on one side and operating costs and (increasingly so) taxation on the other. It wouldn’t take too much of a tilt in the wrong direction for many landlords to call it a day and sell up.”

Alexander accepts that some would welcome landlords returning their homes, via sale, to the owner occupied market. But he then asks: “Where does this leave those – up to 20 per cent of the adult population – who need to rent privately either through choice or because of the shortage of public housing?”

You can see his article here and more on the Scottish rental sector reform plans here.

  • Simon Shinerock

    I 100% disagree with rent controls and believe that a light touch system would quickly morph into something different driving landlords from the sector in their droves and having exactly the opposite effect to the one aimed for, ie harming the interests of tenants

    Theodor Cable

    Absolutely dim, infantile and riduculous.
    What a load of boll***s....

  • Mark Wilson

    Why would rent controls be inflation plus a %? This would make no sense. Rent controls will end up being inflation MINUS a %, otherwise there is no point. ONLY just pointing out the likely outcome.

    Matthew Payne

    Its not necessarily about inflation, but to combat LLs serving section 13s at unreasonable levels that some tenants are forced to agree to, faced with the more unattractive alternative of having to find somewhere new to live.

  • girish mehta

    Rent control simply won't work in PRS. with increased cost and government implementing raising housing standards. increasing pro tenants legislation , the returns need to be there to justify capital investment. The returns will not justify the investment. unless the government takes a balanced view and invest in sector other than treating the landlords as cash cow to balance their budget.
    rent control will lead to less investment in sector leading to more rundown stock and lead to more people become homeless


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