'Lousy Landlords' Get Complaints From 6,000 Scots

6 April 2016, 07:12

More than 6,000 Scots complained about "lousy landlords'' in 2015, according to new figures.

Citizens Advice Scotland dealt with the equivalent of 24 calls every working day from private renters reporting problems with landlords and poor housing - a total of 6,230 last year.

CAS said the caseload, including complaints about landlords failing to carry out basic repairs and bullying and intimidating tenants, has increased by 23% in the past two years.

Housing and homelessness charity Shelter Scotland said it also dealt with thousands of calls from private renters last year.

The charity said of 5,343 calls to its helpline between February 2015 and this February, 42% were from people renting privately, despite the sector comprising only 14% of all Scottish households.

CAS Housing spokesman Patrick Hogan said: "The figures we are publishing today are a shocking insight into the worst corners of the private rented sector in Scotland. While most private landlords are responsible and doing right by their tenants, our evidence shows there are far too many who are not.

"Our advisers are seeing 24 cases every working day where lousy landlords are letting their tenants down.''

He said the organisation regularly deals with incidents of poor quality housing, dampness and condensation, poor electrical wiring and unsafe appliances.

CAS is calling for increased monitoring of the private rented sector and also urged tenants to make sure they know their rights.

Shelter Scotland director Graeme Brown, said: "All too often we hear of people living in disrepair, being evicted or rents increasing unreasonably, forcing families and individuals into the disruptive cycle of having to move house - every six months in some cases - preventing them from ever being able to put down strong roots and being part of a community.

"We want private renters to have the right and access to good quality, long-term homes, not just short-term housing.''

The Scottish Association of Landlords welcomed the CAS report.

Chief executive John Blackwood said: "The sector is already heavily regulated but it is important those existing rules are enforced to ensure rogue and criminal landlords are driven out of the market.''

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "There are laws in place to ensure landlords meet their duty to repair and maintain any properties.

"We are drafting statutory guidance for local authorities to promote targeted tougher enforcement against the minority of bad landlords.''