A place to stay, a place to call home: a strategy for the private rented sector in Scotland

Our vision and strategic aims for the private rented sector.


This Strategy aims to improve and grow the private rented sector by enabling a more effective regulatory system, targeting tougher enforcement action and attracting new investment.

The Strategy has been informed by the work of the Private Rented Sector Strategy Group who helped the Scottish Government to produce and consult on a draft Strategy in 2012.



"A private rented sector that provides good quality homes and high management standards, inspires consumer confidence, and encourages growth through attracting increased investment "

In order to achieve this vision, three strategic aims have been identified:

  • to improve the quality of property management, condition and service;
  • to deliver for tenants and landlords, meeting the needs of the people living in the sector; consumers seeking accommodation; and landlords committed to continuous improvement; and
  • to enable growth, investment and help increase overall housing supply.

Progress towards meeting the vision and strategic aims will be made through taking forward ten key actions and assessing the PRS contribution to the achievement of the Scottish Government's Housing and Regeneration Outcomes, described in Chapter 1.

Informed by dialogue with the PRS Strategy Group, we have identified a number of strategic challenges involved in improving the PRS:

  • tackling the minority of landlords and tenants who act unlawfully or antisocially, and have a disproportionate impact on vulnerable communities and the reputation of the sector overall;
  • creating a regulatory framework that works for both tenants and landlords - one that is effective, proportionate and sets standards to ensure quality but is also affordable and does not constrain growth;
  • ensuring that the sector meets the growing demand for private rented housing from a range of different household types;
  • encouraging tenants to think of themselves as consumers who can drive improvement within the sector; and supporting landlords to deliver improvements;
  • taking account of the needs of vulnerable tenants, particularly in light of the UK Government Welfare Reforms;
  • attracting more investment to increase the supply of private rented housing and to improve physical quality, against a backdrop of challenging economic times; and
  • responding to the need for improved energy efficiency in PRS properties.

Addressing these challenges will not be easy. The Scottish Government does not have a monopoly on good ideas, in order to deliver on the vision for the sector, we will engage with all of our partners on their innovative ideas. Partnership working at all levels, national to local, will be essential in taking this work forward.

Key Actions

The Scottish Government will work with our partners and stakeholders to take forward 10 key actions.

To improve PRS quality:
1 Work with COSLA, individual local authorities, and landlords to refine the landlord registration regime to identify new means of targeting tougher enforcement action on the worst landlords in the sector. Specifically by:
  • using learning from the work of the Govanhill Hub, and other good practice across Scotland, to influence formation of local partnerships to assist vulnerable communities and individuals experiencing problems with bad landlord practice; and
  • examining how the powers available to local authorities might be enhanced, enabling them to take stronger, targeted enforcement action in the most vulnerable communities.
2 Work with all partners and stakeholders to identify the most effective form for further regulation of the letting agent industry in Scotland, considering legislative change where required.
3 Use findings from Scottish Government consultations on (i) options for improving dispute resolution in rented housing, including the potential creation of a new Housing Panel, and (ii) proposals for reforms in the sheriff court, to inform action aimed at improving redress for consumers, including legislative change as required.
4 Broaden access to the Private Rented Housing Panel to drive greater compliance with the Repairing Standard by seeking to enable new third party reporting rights for local authorities and other relevant bodies.
5 Publish a Sustainable Housing Strategy in 2013, bringing together policies on climate change, energy efficiency, fuel poverty, planning and the built environment. In addition, work with stakeholders to develop options for setting minimum energy efficiency standards in private sector housing, ahead of public consultation on draft regulations.
To create a sector that can deliver for Tenants and Landlords
6 Consult with all stakeholders to examine the suitability and effectiveness of the current private rented sector tenancy regime, considering legislative change where required.
7 Work with stakeholders to develop an online information hub aimed at tenants and landlords in the private rented sector. This will provide a 'one stop shop' for accessible information and advice on the private rented sector.
8 Monitor the impact of UK Government Welfare Reforms on the sector as it progresses and continue to work with COSLA and other stakeholders to support the sector to respond.
To enable growth and investment
9 Consider, with local authorities, how a better understanding of the need for private rented housing and its role within overall housing supply can be developed and integrated into Local Housing Strategies, informing and influencing future investment decisions by pension funds and institutional investors.
10 Continue to drive actions set out in 'Homes fit for the 21st Century' to encourage growth and investment in the PRS by:
  • engaging with landlord representative bodies, prospective institutional investors, pension funds, the construction sector and registered social landlords to identify suitable business and investment models enabling opportunities for investment in new private homes for rent in Scotland; and
  • continuing dialogue with the UK Government on reserved matters where a change in the taxation system will stimulate investment in new or existing PRS housing.


Email: Yvonne Gavan

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