Rent Control (and Housing Supply) Campaign    

17 Sep
Please see below – Lettingweb is supporting PRS4 Scotland’s campaign to lobby MSP’s to try and prevent rent controls being introduced in Scotland in the upcoming housing bill. From the research we have done we feel introduction of rent controls would damage our industry, discourage badly needed investment into the PRS and hurt our Members’ businesses and risks exit from the market of their landlord customers. The fear is the governments current proposals could be the thin edge of the wedge and ill thought legislation drive a current lack of supply into a crisis situation.

Between the UK governments Build to Rent initiatives and institutional investor appetite it is estimated there is £60 Billion pounds of investment wanting and waiting to be deployed to grow the UK PRS. The concern is that this ill thought out Scottish Government proposal to introduce rent control could mean Scotland gets little or none of that investment which is so badly needed to grow supply levels of new homes to rent and maintain private rental in Scotland as an affordable housing option.

We would urge you to join us in supporting the campaign and encourage your landlord customers to do so also- we have a very limited window to lobby and try and prevent this happening and as an industry we need to all come together and act now.

Alex Watts
CEO

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The last week has confirmed that the Scottish Govt. is keeping the option of rent controls ‘in hot spots’ on the legislative agenda for

prs-logo_x2 this autumn, despite the best efforts of the industry to engage before and during the consultation process; a 70% consultation response indicating rent controls were not a positive step and a report from Shelter indicating Rent Controls were not the answer.Concerted action by those of us involved in managing or investing in the PRS sector is now badly needed in a short space of time.

What is PRS4Scotland?

PRS4Scotland has been set up specifically and solely to tackle this debate head-on in a constructive and informative manner. PRS4SCotland’s framework prospectus can be found here. We seek to encourage the Scottish Government to take a far more strategic approach to PRS policy that serves the interests of tenants and landlords alike. To that end we are proposing alternative tenancy solutions to encourage long-term rentals and above all promoting a focus on the real issue – a lack of supply in housing.

The intention is to provide pro-active support to the regular lobbying being undertaken by other industry bodies, but with a specific focus on this immediate and urgent political debate. We aim to create a high media profile for the counter-arguments, backed up by professional media management, PR and above all detailed, verifiable research.

The objective is constructive engagement with the Government, and the key housing policy thinkers, and directly with the voting MSPs all backed up by  media, to give them the facts, a set of constructive alternatives to a Rent Control policy and to get them to focus on the real issue which is undersupply of housing in all tenures. We need to get the media and informed contributors asking some hard questions.

The project has been established and funded so far by Rettie & Co., DJ Alexander, Braemore, Cullen Property, Lettingweb and Citylets.  These firms have been and will be pooling resources to provide detailed up to date research and resources to respond to developments in the debate as it occurs.

PR and Public Affairs agency, Indigo.have been hired to provide strategic communications expertise.

Key Milestones to Date

  • Adding 1,500 plus responses to the last Govt. consultation process through an intensive 4 day campaign
  • Establishing the www.prs.scot website
  • Establishing and driving a twitter campaign (please ‘follow’ us @prsscot)
  • A letters and Media campaign which is developing traction
  • Developing detailed briefing packs for MSPs
  • Developing a direct communication plan with key MSPs
  • Delivering research on rents, supply, and other experiences around the world

The Next Steps

This is only the beginning. The draft Bill now goes into the Parliamentary committee process and on through debate. We have developed a detailed political engagement programme to dovetail with the Parliamentary process.  It is now, over the next 3 months, that the effort is really required. The debate is very much not ‘lost’.

The founding firms are undertaking this considerable effort at no cost as a commitment to the sector with resource to date going toward web, on and off-line media, strategic communications advice and on generating better and more proactive research to back up our arguments on this issue.

We have the research capacity, the strategic communication capacity, the media resources and we are up and running.

We now badly need your help.  Our industry and the vital role it plays in Scotland’s economy is now facing a very severe and real challenge, largely due to misinformation and mis-understanding. The Livingrent campaign have met with almost every MSP. We need to do the same.

How You Can Help

We would ask you to:

  1. Get in touch through the web site, follow us on twitter (@prsscot) and engage in the debate. Your positive voice needs to be heard
  2. Communicate with your MSP direct and encourage your landlord clients to do so as well – again check out the web site
  3. Make an immediate donation to the campaign to allow us to keep going and ‘up the pressure’.

 

Make a Donation

Contributions  are  being  channelled  through  the  audited accounts of LetScotland  to  provide   transparency  and  independence.  The  account  will  be independently  overseen  by  an  appointed   accountant  and  3  Directors  from separate  agencies  will  authorise  expenditure.

We  are  suggesting  a  campaign  contribution  of  £2  for  every  property managed,  which  we  hope   you  will  feel  is  both  affordable  and  appropriate.

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Thank  you  for  reading  this.    If  you  have  any  questions  or  would  like  to discuss  the  campaign  in   more  detail  do  please  contact  any  of  the  individuals below. Our  industry  needs  to  act.

Yours  sincerely,
David  Alexander,  DJ  Alexander
Ian  Lawson,  Braemore
Matthew  Benson,  Rettie  &  Co.
Alex  Watts,  Lettingweb
Thomas  Ashdown,  Citylets
Malcolm  Warrack,  Cullen  Property