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Graham Awards


Outspoken agency boss renews attack on politicians

A high profile agent has renewed his attack on politicians.

David Alexander - who heads up DJ Alexander, part of the Lomond Group - has been fiercely critical of Scottish political leaders for introducing an emergency rent freeze and other anti-rental sector policies.

Now he has taken issue with the Scottish Government’s claim that if there was no private rented sector then more houses would be available for tenants to buy.


Alexander says this claim is refuted by the Governments’ own official statistics which shows that homeownership in Scotland peaked in 2000 when the PRS was very small, and its growth directly coincided with the decline in the volume of social housing.

He says the in December 2000 63.4 per cent of Scots were homeowners with 29.9 per cent in social housing and just 6.7 per cent in the private rented sector. 

By 2019 (the latest year for which directly comparable statistics are available due to the pandemic) the number of homeowners in Scotland was 59.1 per cent with social housing on 22.8 per cent and the PRS at 14.3 per cent.

Alexander says this show that the increase in the size of the PRS almost exactly matches the decline in the number of social housing properties available over the 20-year period.

“The assumption in Government that the growth of the private rented sector has somehow prevented many tenants from becoming homeowners is clearly incorrect. The growth of the PRS is directly related to the decline in the number of social housing properties. The slight downturn in homeownership over the last two decades is quite small with the 20-year average 60.2 per cent” he notes.

“The current attempt to stifle the private rented sector through the imposition of a rent freeze is likely to result in fewer homes to rent, and little or no increase in the number of homeowners. If people can’t afford to buy a home now, how will they be able to do so when there are fewer homes in the PRS. If, as expected, many landlords and property investors decide to sell up because of this policy then all properties will be sold at market rates and individuals can or cannot afford to buy them.”

And Alexander concludes: “It should also be noted that if the Scottish government wants to encourage first time buyers, they could start by reducing the taxes levied on purchases. Scotland is the most expensively taxed part of the UK for first time buyers with property taxes starting at £175,000 compared to £300,000 in England. Matching the figure south of the border would help reduce the costs for first time buyers.

“Removing stock from the rental market does not answer the key housing problems which Scotland faces. Decades of under investment in social housing has resulted in record waiting lists and an enormous housing shortage across Scotland.

“This seems to be a policy based on ideology rather than rationality. The risk is that the private rented sector is considerably reduced at a time when demand is at a record level. For many tenants this will reduce their options, risk them being without a home, and, in the worst cases, face potential homelessness.”

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    Not sure why the headline says he’s outspoken. He’s standing up for many many landlords who feel they have no real voice. Thank you for the work you’ve done so far.

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    More sense coming from this guy than the NRLA. Once we look at facts then we realise that ideology drive policy leads to consequences that aren’t considered. Consistent and thoughtfulness should be the driving force with policy making


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