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A new dawn for private renting in Scotland?

This one-day conference, held on Thursday 24 August 2006, examined the many changes taking place in the Scottish private rented sector as a result of the new landlord registration scheme and the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006. You can find out more about the day and download the seminar presentations here.

Morning sessions: what is private renting for?

The opening session, chaired by Kennedy Foster of the Council of Mortgage Lenders in Scotland, addressed the question 'What is private renting for?' The Deputy Minister for Communities, Johann Lamont, gave an overview of all recent developments in Scottish Executive policy on the sector, much of which is reflected in the recently issued circular .

John Blackwood, of the Scottish Association of Landlords, welcomed much of the principle behind a more active engagement by government with landlords. But he warned that unless implementation was right, there was a risk that good landlords would leave the sector. The final speaker, James Jopling of Shelter, argued that the shortage of accommodation was now so stark in some areas that the private rented sector would need to move centre-stage in the battle against homelessness. You can see James's presentation here .

In a question and answer session, the main focus was regulation. Landlord representatives felt that the level of regulation was disproportionate to the benefit. The Deputy Minister recognised challenges but gave a robust account of the Executive's rationale for recent changes.

Afternoon sessions: making the market work

The afternoon's proceedings opened with a session on making the market work. Martyn Evans of the Scottish Consumer Council argued that policy in earlier decades of heavy regulation of 'managed decline' had got it wrong and sought an approach that recognised the diversity of the current market. Douglas Johnston of Arneil Johnston outlined the successes in four areas where voluntary accreditation of private landlords was being piloted. Finally, Sarah-Jane Laing of the Scottish Rural Property and Business Association (SRPBA) showed just how important the private rented sector is in remote parts of Scotland, where it is the majority provider of rented housing.

You can download the presentations from the afternoon session here:

Making the market work for consumers
Martyn Evans, Director, Scottish Consumer Council

Accreditation of landlords
Douglas Johnston, Director, Arneil Johnston

Renting in an expanding rural market
Sarah Jane Laing, Housing Strategy Officer, Scottish Rural Property and Business Association

Workshops

During the day, a serious of breakout sessions and workshops were held, covering topics as diverse as landlord registration and accreditation, the right to adapt for disabled tenants and the private rented housing panel. You can download presentations from the workshops here:

The right to adapt for disability
Lynn Welsh, Disability Rights Commission

Private sector leasing
Andrew Morrison, Orchard and Shipman

Early lessons from registration
Ewan Ritchie, East Lothian Council

Planning and HMO licensing
Andrew Sikes, Edinburgh City Council

Accreditation - lessons from pilots
Heather Kirkland, City of Edinburgh Council

Illegal evictions
George Will, Dundee Housing Aid Centre, Shelter Scotland

Private rented housing panel
Isabel Montgomery, President of the Rent Assessment Panel

Tenancy deposits
Mark Holroyd, Policy Officer, Shelter Scotland