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Buy to let reforms spur landlords to sell up in Scotland

Buy to let reforms in Scotland have seen landlords flocking to leave the market, according to new data.

The National Landlords Association says one in four landlords have sold a rental home in the past three months, while only one in 20 has taken the plunge to buy. At the same time, property sales have outstripped purchases by five to one. The data looks at property transactions between April and June this year - four months after the government introduced Scottish Private Residential Tenancy.

The Scottish Government argues the reforms offer security, stability and predictability for tenants and safeguards for landlords, lenders and investors. But the NLA suggests a major buy to let upheaval is under way that could impact 67,000 buy to let homes and 45,000 out of Scotland’s estimated 225,000 landlords.

Richard Lambert, the body’s CEO, said: “Scottish Private Residential Tenancy removes the flexibility of the sector to meet the varied needs of an ever-changing population of renters, like students and those seeking short term tenancies.” He also argued that the level of divestment in rented property is a concern for the Scottish Government, and has urged the UK Parliament to pay close attention as it currently consults on similar proposals for rental reforms in England and Wales.

“The last quarter has seen the highest proportion of landlords selling properties in Scotland in any three-month period since the government first announced their tenancy reforms in 2016,” said Lambert.

“We warned these changes would unnerve investors in private rented homes in Scotland, and it should serve as a clear sign of what to expect if similar reforms are introduced elsewhere in the UK.”