scottish devolution

Nearly half of Scots find it difficult to find suitable rented accommodation, according to a new survey.

According to the Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL), shortage of supply and rising house prices are to blame for the lack of suitable housing for 43% of the 1000 people it surveyed. Some respondents said finding suitable accommodation was "very difficult".

"Although the private-rented sector in Scotland sometimes has a poor reputation, this poll shows that a significant number of people are trying to access the market and that many of them are not able to find suitable accommodation," said SAL chief executive John Blackwood.

"We are acutely aware of the need to introduce measures which protect tenants from poor treatment by landlords and letting agents and will work with all parties to drive these rogue companies and individuals out of the sector.

"At the same time, however, it is important to take measures which encourage investment in the private-rented sector.

"Landlords and letting agents must be given the confidence to invest in the housing sector as well as be encouraged to refurbish properties and make them available for rent.

"They need to be able to evict tenants who indulge in anti-social behaviour or repossess properties that have been abandoned so that properties can be let to responsible tenants looking for accommodation and help meet the increased demand."

According to the Office for National Statistics, the average UK house price stood at £271,000 (€339,695, $425,190) in October.

The chronic shortage of supply and increasing demand has meant UK house prices, on average, have rocketed by 56% nationally since 2004.

"We are funding the appointment of Homes for Scotland's private rented sector champion, Gerry More, to bring forward initiatives to boost the supply of new homes for private rent," said a Scottish government spokesperson in a statement.

"We have also recently consulted on a new tenancy system to improve the private rented sector for both tenants and landlords.

"We are currently analysing the responses and will outline the next steps in the coming weeks."