Tenancy proposals contained within the Coronavirus (Recovery and Reform) (Scotland) Bill could lead to thousands of homes being lost to the rental market, it has been claimed.

In a joint letter to the Scottish Government, Scottish Land & Estates, the Scottish Association of Landlords and NFU Scotland have warned that the supply of rural homes for rent may be irreparably damaged by the proposed new legislation.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, all grounds for eviction of a tenant were temporarily made discretionary – but the new Bill seeks to make this change permanent, leaving it to a tribunal to rule on a landlord’s desire to remove a tenant and reclaim vacant possession, even where the tenant fails to comply with the conditions set out in their tenancy agreement, including non-payment of rent.

Read more: Opportunities are there for tenants

It would also be up to a tribunal to rule whether possession of a property could be regained in the case of a landlord wanting to live in the property, from a tenant who is no longer an employee – e.g. a former farm worker – or when the owner wishes to sell the property.

The letter read: "Our organisations represent landlords of all types, from owners of single buy-to-let properties to people who run letting businesses in urban and rural areas. We cannot believe that the outcome sought by the government is a situation where tenants will find it harder to rent due to a reduction in supply and landlords face increased rent arrears or a substantial loss in the value of their properties.

"We urge Scottish Ministers to think again and take on board the genuine concerns of all those who not only own and let properties but tenants who need a place to live."