Following two reports that more must be done to improve the state of the private rental sector across the UK, Scotland’s largest independent residential landlord insists that the Scottish lettings market is in need of a “massive shake-up”.
Yesterday, a landmark report was published by academics at the University of York, alongside a study by Nationwide Building Society.
Now, serial entrepreneur Graeme Carling says that he is “not surprised” that more and more buy-to-let investors are leaving the sector, given the “minefield” that is being a landlord in Scotland.
Commenting on reports that there has been a decline in buy-to-let mortgage applications, Carling believes that it is not just tighter regulations and higher costs that are to blame. The problem, claims Carling, is “the minefield of actually being a landlord in Scotland”.
He explains: “What appears, on paper, to be a tidy little investment can turn into a major headache for those wanting to earn extra income, or use buy-to-lets to invest some spare cash. Operating a building full of rentals is one thing. Running a place which is part of a collection of private properties is a whole lot different.”
Things can get “messy”, he says, if there is no compulsory property manager to oversee common repairs. Chasing other landlords for money to pay for common maintenance issues can be a full-time job, he point out, and, if solicitors are used to chase payments, it can become costly, too.
“On a few occasions, I’ve opted to swallow the costs myself, simply because I couldn’t face the hassle,” he says. “And that’s not fair.”
Carling goes on to argue that perhaps landlords and property agents should be means-tested, so that they are in a position to pay towards common repairs, should they arise.
Carling is the Co-Founder of Carling Property Group – along with his wife, Leanne – and the Owner of the newly formed PRS Group. They own and manage 350+ rental properties across Scotland, making them the country’s largest independent residential landlords.
The PRS Group aims to expand rapidly, by owning 5,000 rental properties “as quickly as possible”. Perhaps things aren’t as bad as Carling makes them seem?