A Scottish property firm is teaming up with a local blockchain startup to create probably the world’s first Private Rented Sector (PRS) database.
Property letting portal Citylets has announced that they and their new tech partner Wallet.Services will be creating a ledger that would tackle rising rents in Scotland’s residential sector. The company believes that their solution will become a useful tool for local councils applying to the Scottish ministers to have their area designated as a ‘rent pressure zone,’ for it will provide the relevant information procured from the letting agents.
The new Scottish renting law requires RPZ applications to be very detailed. They must include market evidence that rent increases to tenants are excessive and causing them problems. The evidence should also prove that the local council is coming under pressure to provide housing or subsidize the cost of housing as a result. If the criteria are matched, the Scottish government grants the concerned area an RPZ status, setting a cap on the annual rental increase rate for existing tenants in that area.
However, in its current paradigm, the Scottish government could find it harder to find accurate evidential data, specifically when they are gearing up to regulate a very large housing industry. The nation’s PRS has reportedly become heavily politicized and new regulation is coming thick and fast, without a pinch of concern towards its enforcement on the ground.
On the top of that, the Scottish PRS law will be enforced to the rest of the United Kingdom as well.
Citylets proposes blockchain as a database that records rent changes faced by the tenants in Scotland in the form of shareable data. The collected information can be utilized by both the letting industry and local councils that otherwise would lack the evidence to support their RPZ applications to the Scottish government.
Thomas Ashdown, the Managing Director at Citylets, explained the need for having a cross-organizational data sharing solution in the face of a complete overhaul of letting agent regulations coming December 1.
“Ultimately we would hope the Scottish Government would be consumers of the data for far-reaching decisions based on the data as they seek to regulate this now large housing segment,” he told CCN. “Local Government also have numerous planning responsibilities in respect of local housing. In short, the data needs to be accurate, trusted, authoritative and incorruptible.”
“Ultimately this [creating a blockchain solution] is just our vision of how things can be done. But having spoken with local government extensively, there doesn’t seem to be a better solution on the table.”
Rab Campbell, Chairman of Wallet.Services, also noted that their solution could address “an issue thrown up by legislation passed by the Scottish Parliament,” adding it would improve trust and data quality between public and private sectors as a whole.
Read this article to know more about the upcoming Scottish PRS regulation.
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