There are thousands of private landlords in Scotland requiring more support in order to give their tenants a better service, according to housing and homeless charity Shelter Scotland.
Assessing the first year’s work of two Oak Foundation backed pilot projects assisting landlords in the Highlands and Dundee, the charity has concluded that there are too many inexperienced landlords who do not understand their legal obligations.
During the last year, Shelter’s private landlord support officers have given information and guidance in 542 cases. They found that most of the landlords receiving help rent out just one property.
In addition, Shelter’s investigation found that many became landlords as a result of a change in their own circumstances. The vast majority wanted to comply with legislation and to do whatever it meant to be a good landlord.
James Battye, Shelter Scotland private renting project manager, observed: ‘It is reasonable to believe that what we have found in Dundee and the Highlands may be well true across Scotland. That means there could be thousands of landlords who don’t have a full grasp of their legal responsibilities.’
‘Shelter Scotland’s Private Landlord Support project has highlighted this gap in support for inexperienced landlords and is creating a template for services that would benefit them and their tenants in the future,’ he continued.
Many amateur landlords in Scotland don’t understand obligations
The number of households privately renting has nearly tripled in size since 1999 to provide homes for 350,000 Scottish households. These include 91,000 families with children.
As the Scottish private rental sector continues to grow, it is imperative that landlords are more professional.
Mr Battye noted: ‘Many landlords are finding themselves ill-equipped for managing housing for people in relationship, health or financial crisis.’
‘We will continue to provide the Private Landlord Support Service in the Highlands and Dundee until March 2018 with financial backing from the Oak Foundation. In Dundee the private landlord support officer is based within the council while in the Highlands the support officer is hosted by Lochaber Housing Association. Invaluable support is provided by both local authorities enabling the projects to reach people on the landlord register,’ he concluded.