Scottish property experts warn of impending rural housing crisis

by Catriona Quinn

Tuesday, December 11th, 2018

Countryside property landscape is looking bleak with new raft of legislation

Catherine Smith, Land Agent at Bell Ingram comments on potential rural housing crisis - property PR

A LEADING land and estate agency has warned of a potential housing crisis for those living and working in Scotland’s rural areas.

Countryside living may become impossible for many because of significant increases in the costs of maintaining rental property or the sheer lack of available rental homes, according to experts at Bell Ingram.

Private rental property numbers have depleted in rural Scotland with the introduction of legislation around maintenance and testing standards, energy efficiency and the new Private Rented Tenancy (PRT).

While these new regulations provide greater security for tenants themselves, they are driving up costs for landlords – which could leave the countryside property landscape looking bleak.

Catherine Smith, Land Agent at Bell Ingram, said: “Despite the obvious positives that have come from stricter legislation around renting property privately, it may leave the rural areas of Scotland worse off in the long run.

“There is an ongoing requirement for people to live and work in the countryside and a greater need for rental property than ever in the current housing climate.

“The PRT has reduced the flexibility of rental property, which is absolutely key for some farms and estates that require homes for employees.

“Another pressing problem for rural rentals is the upcoming changes to Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) standards. Although staggered, from March 2025, all let properties must have a minimum rating of band D, which will almost certainly require work to most, if not all traditional rural properties.”

Other options instead of renting out a property could include selling or diversifying to a holiday home but both of these options would deprive the countryside of locally-based individuals to drive the economy and may not suit estate or farm owners.

Despite the obvious challenges for landlords, experts like Bell Ingram can provide help and guidance to those confused by the raft of new legislation.

Catherine added: “There is no one option that will work for all estates or farms and a full assessment of the surplus residential properties should be completed before making any decisions on the best way to move forward.

“We’re still yet to understand the full implications of changing EPC standards too. It’s not necessarily a bad thing to improve the housing anyway; it protects and maintains for the future but can be challenging when imposed with a deadline for completion.

“The team at Bell Ingram can provide further information on the requirements, options and agreements, as well as providing management and accounting services for all types of tenancy agreements.”

Established 112 years ago, Bell Ingram has 130 professional staff across 11 UK offices, including chartered surveyors, estate and forestry managers, architects and building surveyors.

The depth of Bell Ingram’s expertise and experience means it can advise on any project from initial audit, through to planning, legal services and financing to sale of a completed development.



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Cat Catriona Quinn PR agency Edinburgh Holyrood PR

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Senior Account Executive Catriona Quinn is part of the multi-award-winning PR team at Holyrood PR, a leading Scottish PR agency

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