One’s destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things. Henry Miller
“You will recognize your own path when you come upon it, because you will suddenly have all the energy and imagination you will ever need.” Jerry Gillies
“Just when I think I have learned the way to live, life changes.” ~ Hugh Prather
Perhaps measuring animal intelligence by comparing it to human intelligence isn’t the best litmus test.
I am hoping that we will have new guidance in the coming weeks with regards to what we can and cannot do in relation to inspections, viewings and addressing maintenance issues, and I know I am not alone in feeling that in this lockdown that we are treading water, waiting for change. We are all tired, doing our best in unusual and challenging times, and we will find our way in the new way of life.
Rent Control: Bill to legalise ‘rent cap’ system may be passed
In August, we advised on the Scottish government’s consultation on whether to replace the Rent Pressure Zones (RPZ) system with Pauline McNeill MSP’s proposed Fair Rents (Scotland) Bill, which aims to link rent levels to average wages.
If the bill is accepted, and authorised by the country’s parliament, it would cap annual rent increases in the private sector at one percentage point above inflation. In addition, in order to get a clear picture of market rates, landlords will have to update the Scottish national landlord register with any changes to rental charges.
Disputers of the bill have argued that it would unbalance rent appeals. With the new system, when a tenant appeals their rent charges, the tribunal may either lower or maintain the current amount, depending on their assessment – but unlike the current system, they will not raise the costs.
The Scottish Labour MSP says that introducing rent caps will make private renting fairer and more affordable.
McNeill commented: “The relationship between ever increasing rents and poverty is clear.”
“Rent pressure zones have failed. The Scottish Government have missed an opportunity in this Parliament to tackle high rents – with this Bill I hope to correct that mistake.”
Solicitor Advocate, Mike Dailly, argued that the bill is necessary because the current RPZ system is ineffective.
“The Scottish Government introduced some rent control measures in the 2016 Private Tenancies (Housing) (Scotland) Act. Yet not one local authority in Scotland has ever applied for a rent pressure zone. The legislation isn’t fit for purpose.”
The bill has received mixed reviews from the sector. While there has been support from charities and some councils, other groups, such as ARLA Propertymark, have come out in opposition of the bill.
Short-term/holiday let regulations published
Following two public consultations, the Scottish Government has laid two pieces of draft legislation before Parliament to bring in regulation of the short-term/holiday let sector.
The first, to give local authorities the power to introduce control areas within which planning permission will be required for the change of use of properties to short-term/holiday lets, is expected to come into force on 1 April. Following a request from SAL for clarification on the position of established short-term/holiday lets, we are pleased that the government has confirmed our understanding that properties which have been operated as short-term/holiday lets without enforcement action being taken in the last 10 years will be exempt from the requirement to apply for planning permission.
The second, to require all operators of short-term/holiday lets in Scotland to apply for a license, has now been temporarily withdrawn. This is to give time for the government to produce draft guidance to alleviate the concerns of some MSPs about the operation of the proposed licensing scheme. The Housing Minister has advised that the government’s intention is to re-lay the legislation in June and keep to the original timetable for implementation of the licensing scheme. Local authorities will have until 1 April 2022 to establish a licensing scheme and existing operators will have until 1 April 2023 to apply for a license. Those applying for a license will undergo a fit and proper person test and must confirm (via a declaration or photographic/documentary evidence) that they meet safety standards and licensing conditions.
The Scottish Government intends to produce a guidance document in spring 2021 for those operating holiday/short-term lets. We will share a link to this document with members once it is published.
House Prince increase up 20%
According to the latest data from Registers of Scotland, 2020 saw the average house price in parts of Scotland jump as high as 20% despite the outburst of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The figures published by the Office for National Statistics, revealed that the house prices across Scotland rose by 8.4% to stand at £162,983 on average over the last year.
Areas with most notable house price increases
Shetlands experienced the biggest increases of 19.9%, followed by East Ayrshire, where average house prices went up by 17.9%.
Two-figure increases (above 10%) in average house prices were also recorded in Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, Borders and Stirling, whilst Aberdeen saw a continued fall of 2.1%, likely resulting from a further turmoil and job losses in the oil and gas industry in 2020.
Prices in Edinburgh rose by 5.3% last year, reaching an average of £236,000. The capital city remained the most expensive place to buy in 2020.
In comparison, Inverclyde recorded the lowest average price last year, at £108,000.
Looking at the property type, detached homes experienced the highest price increases of 9.9% last year, selling for £285,415 on average, whereas flats and maisonettes saw the lowest rises in price of 7.3%, standing at £115,600.
Boost in the number of house sales in Scotland
According to the figures, the number of transactions in Scotland also rose in 2020 despite the Coronavirus crisis. An increase of 31.9% was observed, partly due to many homeowners searching for more space, as well as low borrowing and buying costs, including the temporary reduction in the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax.
Across the whole of UK, house prices recorded a 8.5% annual growth, which is the highest increase since October 2014.
Animal intelligence With almost 12 million households in the UK owning a pet, there’s no doubt that we’re a pet-loving nation. However, when you look at the private rental sector, very few landlords consider letting a property to a tenant with a pet.
Perhaps they think it’s too much hassle, that the minuses would outweigh the pluses or they just don’t believe it’s something that traditionally happens in rented accommodation The UK’s largest dog welfare charity, Dogs Trust is only too aware of the problems faced by pet owners looking for privately-rented accommodation.
Clare Kivlehan from the charity says that frequently the situation means tenants have to make difficult decisions. “All too often people are forced to live in unsuitable properties or keep pets without consent from their landlord,” she says. “ In some extreme cases, owners are forced to give up their pets or else face becoming homeless A survey by the charity showed that pet owners can take up to seven times longer to rent a home compared to non-pet owners and that 1 in 3 ” pet owners couldn’t find a suitable property that would accept their pet. To show landlords and letting agencies that accepting pets makes good business sense, Dogs Trust launched its Lets with Pets scheme.
Happy DIY Home | The Home and Garden Authority has contact Glasgow Property Letting regarding an ancient dog commonly compared to a feline in temperament- the Japanese Chin. The Japanese Chin is a small toy dog breed who was bred for companionship. The Japanese Chin of today remains a beloved lap dog, excelling in show and sports like agility and obedience.
These orginisations believe that by accepting tenants with pets, landlords can increase demand for properties and attract long-term, responsible tenants. To become pet friendly Clare advises that landlords should advertise properties as ‘pets considered’ so they can make a decision on accepting pets on a case by case basis. Clare also suggests that landlords should make agents aware that they will consider pet owners. Ensuring everything is done by the book is important too and Clare recommends that a pet clause should be added to the tenancy agreement, when a pet has been agreed, and the Lets with Pets website has examples of what a pet clause would look like. She also stresses the importance of ensuring any additional deposit taken for the pet is held in an approved tenancy deposit scheme.
Take care and stay safe
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