A REPORT issued by CityLets provides some interesting if not depressing reading (Landlords seeking legal advice over rent freeze move, Oct 14). It is another example of the folks with the least leverage, like incoming students or those on the bottom rungs of the ladder, being squeezed. The landlords need more income and the hat goes out, or rather that contract is adjusted, for each new tenant, for essentially the same product.

How can private landlords with rental property in Dundee justify average increases in rent of 50% over the last five years?

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From an average of £500pm to £1000pm in five years, this to me sounds excessive. Annual rent that five years ago was £6,000pa is now £12,000pa. Average wages have risen nothing like this, so this £6,000pa is being sucked out from renter’s disposable incomes, affecting local hospitality, local shops and trades.

The hospitality sector has been complaining bitterly over 24-odd months of reduced incomes and they needed Covid relief.

I can understand if a “bad tennant” moves out and significant upgrade is required, however, isn’t or shouldn’t this be “priced in” as building and contents insurance, which the renter probably pays in their rent, probably unknowingly?

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A collective of private rented landlords are seeking legal opinion from Lord Davidson KC on the legislation that was passed into law, banning evictions and limited rent increases on October 4. John Blackwood, CEO of the Scottish Association of Landlords, stated that the action was being taken with a “heavy heart”.

If several years ago, properties were purchased with a view to rent, as an income stream or hedge against low investment incomes in ISAs or other investment vehicles, isn’t this an investment decision which the owner needs to account for?

These increases have been experienced by renters over the last five years. If things are getting tight for the owners then the market forces would dictate that they do what the rest of us need to do, that is “sell up” what they can’t afford to keep.

In market terminology, it is liquidate the asset.

A “heavy heart” is the wrong part of the anatomy. It is the “head” that should be hung in disgrace.

Alistair Ballantyne
Birkhill, Angus

ON Sunday I listened to Patrick Harvie trying to defend his policy on private-sector rent controls. He could not answer the simple question that the interviewer put to him: “why is reducing the available stock of houses a good thing for renters?”

Patrick, you are a smart guy but you’ve done a ‘Truss’ on this one. Not smart.

Why don’t you focus your attention on a long-term crusade that has been waged by your former colleague Andy Wightman? It is the agricultural and land ownership subsides that are generously handed over to anyone from any corner of the planet who happens to be fortunate enough to own land in Scotland.

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The amounts are staggering, the control is limited, the trough is filled with taxpayers’ money and the absentee owners get rich for doing a limited amount. I have no doubt many DO invest and improve the land, but on the whole, this type of grant is generous to those who probably don’t need it and unfair to those who do.

I’m pretty sure that someone with a couple of hundred acres of rough West Highland land, trying to run a farm, has needs that are far greater and worthy of support greater than those corporations that are tax exiles in the West Indies where we mail their payment cheque to!

For those members of the public who are unaware, let me give a little background. The Scottish Government provide a subsidy system for those with various types of land and differing types of use that is applicable. The money to pay this subsidy comes from Westminster via millions of taxpayers, back to the Scot Government which then allocates it against a set criteria. It can be a substantial amount. Especially to the owner of 10,000

or 15,000 acres of Scotland. It doesn’t matter where you are resident, you get the benefit of this subsidy, hence the cheques to tax havens. Patrick, why not address this flow of money straight out of our economy? It’s a disgrace.

Additionally, isn’t it strange that when you are relatively prosperous this state payment is not called a benefit or welfare payment – it’s suddenly a subsidy? Sounds a lot better and much more civilised.

Dougie Gray

I WANT to thank Andy Anderson for his excellent letter (“Nonsense talk about currency is making discussion difficult”, Oct 14) on the subject of currencies and the merits – indeed the advantages – of an independent Scotland having two separate currencies: one for internal use and the other (or others plural) for use in international trade deals. I think the Yes campaign should adopt that approach with enthusiasm and urge the rUK to adopt a similar approach as soon as possible.

Hugh Noble