Belvoir Group highlights plight of Scottish tenants as housing crisis deepens

September 23, 2022

Demand for rental properties outstripping supply in Scotland

Rental controls, such as those recently announced in Scotland, almost always reduce the number of rental properties that are available to tenants”
— Dorian Gonsalves, CEO Belvoir Group
SCOTLAND, September 23, 2022 / -- The Belvoir Group warns that the housing crisis within the Scottish Private Rental Sector (PRS) is rapidly worsening, leaving thousands of tenants in a desperate situation as they are unable to find accommodation.

Andrew Jack from Belvoir Edinburgh says: “The current situation is incredibly difficult for tenants, and many of those looking to secure a rental property are feeling extremely frustrated and often left disappointed. As an example, we have received over 9000 tenant enquiries in the past four weeks, which is unprecedented. We recently released two flats to the market, and within 48 hours had received over 1000 enquiries for each of them from potential tenants. Not only is it logistically difficult to process 2000 enquiries, but clearly, we were only able to offer these flats to two tenants, leaving 1998 perfectly good potential tenants still looking to find somewhere to live. My team are very aware that behind every enquiry there is a person who is the human face of this crisis. These people are desperate to find a home, and we are doing everything we possibly can to help them, but the truth is that without more properties it is becoming increasingly difficult.”

Ron Campbell of Northwood Dundee echoes these concerns, saying: “We opened our office in 2009, and I can genuinely say that the challenges facing tenants have never been as bad as they are at present. Demand is completely outstripping supply, and it is emotionally draining for my team members to continually deliver bad news to those people who come into our offices day in and day out looking for somewhere to live, only to learn there is nothing available and hundreds of people are applying for absolutely every type of property, from one-bedroom flats to three- and four-bedroom family homes.

“This is a housing crisis that is affecting everyone - from the increasing numbers of foreign students returning to study in Scotland post-Covid, to local families, businesspeople, and refugees. Sadly, for every property that comes onto our books we have probably lost four properties from existing stock, as landlords who have been with us for many years are now feeling pushed into exiting the market. Although we are doing our best to encourage sales to new and existing landlords, many investors who are worried by rental controls, including the moratorium on evictions that was recently announced, are feeling nervous. I hope there will be some sort of consultation between the Housing Minister and our industry to address these issues, or this is a situation that will only worsen.”

Dorian Gonsalves, CEO of the Belvoir Group says: “There is currently a chronic housing shortage in Scotland due to consistent undersupply over the past decade, and now the PRS is in total crisis, resulting in an extremely worrying time for tenants. Statistics from the Scottish Household Surveys show that the Scottish PRS in 2016 accounted for 15% of households in the country, with circa 370,000 households. In the 2018 Survey 340,000 households were recorded. Furthermore, figures released by the Scottish Government in February 2020 confirm that the figure had fallen again to 325,649 properties. Evidence in the market shows figures have continued to fall since then, resulting in a loss of considerably over 14% of homes available to private renters.
“Rental controls, such as those recently announced in Scotland, almost always reduce the number of rental properties that are available to tenants, and this follows a stream of legislation clearly aimed at driving landlords out of the market. The result, we believe is a very real danger that thousands more rental properties may be lost to the market, which will only exacerbate the problem for tenants, and we must always remember that every property lost from the rental sector is somebody’s home.
“Franchisees within the Belvoir Group are doing everything possible to help tenants cope with this dire situation, and I would encourage everyone affected by the lack of rental properties in Scotland to raise this issue with their local MSP. If MSPs are made aware of the hardship that this crisis in the PRS is causing, and its impact on the lives of tenants, they may begin to realise the extent of the problem and take steps to implement the urgent remedial action that is needed to relieve pressure on the PRS. This action must include steps to increase the number of rental homes in Scotland.”

• Belvoir was founded in February 1995 and its Central Office is based in Grantham, Lincolnshire. Michael Stoop is Belvoir’s Chairman.

• Belvoir operates a nationwide property franchise group, with 467 offices across six brands including Belvoir, Northwood, Newton Fallowell, Lovelle, Nicholas Humphreys and Mr and Mrs Clarke, as well as the Group’s financial services division, Brook Financial Services.

• The Belvoir Group now manages 71,787 properties across the UK.

• Belvoir successfully listed on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange on 21st February 2012.

• The Belvoir Group has a total of 15 offices in Scotland, with a combined portfolio of 5774 properties.

Andrea McHugh
Headlines Journalism
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