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Agent lashes out at “cheap political points” by rent freeze fanatics

A prominent lettings agency chief executive has lashed out at the “cheap political points” being scored by politicians in Scotland who are in favour of a private sector rent freeze. 

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon yesterday announced the freeze, in response to a long-running campaign by the Scottish Labour and Green parties.

But David Alexander - chief executive officer of DJ Alexander Scotland Ltd, which is the largest lettings and estate agency in Scotland and part of the Lomond Group - is outraged at the news. 


“The proposed announcement by the First Minister of a rent freeze for tenants in the private rented sector tells you all you need to know about the Scottish Governments’ commitment to consultation and fairness. With the burden of the cost of the freeze being placed upon landlords the First Minister seeks to gain cheap political points whilst not addressing the fundamental failings of her own governments’ housing policy.

“No government would tell supermarkets, pubs, or clothing manufacturers to freeze the cost of their goods, but it seems that Nicola Sturgeon and her colleagues believe the private rented sector is fair game. One parliamentary source is quoted in the media as saying if the cost of a freeze was met by landlords the policy would cost the government nothing.”

He continues: “The result of this policy will be a shrinking of the private rented sector at a time when demand is at its highest. This has come at a time when local councils are seeking help from the private rented sector in housing the homeless as they have no capacity within social housing.”

“This policy underlines how inadequate the response of the Scottish government has been to delivering homes for the people of Scotland. There are currently 132,000 people on the social housing waiting list. There are only 1,000 more social housing homes available now compared with when the SNP came to power. Between 1979-1990 there were 63,795 new social housing dwellings completed. 

“In the 12-year period from 2009-2020 there were 56,823 new social housing dwellings completed. This means that 12.3 per cent more houses (6,972) were built for the social sector in Scotland by the Thatcher government compared to the current SNP administration.”

And he concludes: “This move marks a new low in the Scottish governments’ relations with the private rented sector and, given that this has been done without consultation, is a sign of desperation at a time when we need considered thought and action.”


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