One of Scotland’s best-known estate agents has said he supports rents controls.
David Alexander, whose agency DJ Alexander operates across Edinburgh and Glasgow, says they could help make rental markets “more stable”.
His comments come as Scotland prepares to introduce rent controls this December which, as well as ushering in a ‘new model tenancy’ to offer tenants greater flexibility and protection, will enable local authorities to identify rental pressure zones and introduce rent controls within them.
David, pictured left, says rent controls could work if “implemented wisely” and that rental markets already self-regulate because landlords often choose tenants who they think will be reliable, and worry less about how much rent a property generates.
“He or she will value a tenant who respects the property and who has a good payment record in more than just monetary terms; in other words, to retain such a valued customer, the landlord will invariably restrict any rent increase to the rate of inflation and in some cases not increase it at all,” says David, writing in the Scotsman newspaper yesterday.
But David says he does not support the city-wide application of rent controls – which local authorities in Scotland have said they plan to introduce – but appears to think that its selective application in rental hotspots could work.
“If implementing RPZs local and national, politicians must remain alert to the law of unintended consequences.”
David’s comments contradict ARLA Propertymark’s position on rent control. Its Chief Executive David Cox said, after the Labour Part recently revealed it would introduce them in England, that it “clearly hasn’t learnt the lessons of history” and that “the last time rent controls existed the private rented sector went from housing 90 per cent of the population to just seven per cent,” he said.
“Whenever and wherever rent controls are introduced, the quantity of available housing reduces significantly, and the conditions in privately rented properties deteriorate dramatically.”