Scotland’s largest independent landlords plan rapid expansion

Scotland’s largest independent residential landlords intend to add thousands of properties to their property portfolio.

Graeme and Leanne Carling, co-founders of Carling Property Group and owners of the newly formed PRS Group, want to expand rapidly by owning 5,000 rental properties “as quickly as possible”. They currently rent more than 300 properties through PRS, which includes maintenance, management and development arms.

The Carlings want to buy out landlords who have been squeezed by recent tax and regulatory changes in the private rented sector. “Those changes have made it difficult for smaller operators to make money in the private rental market. Our argument is that when you have scalability, things are not so costly,” said Graeme Carling.

The entrepreneur couple is also interested in talking to the owners of property management companies who want to sell their businesses.

Funding for the Carlings’ property growth is already in place. PRS has secured financial backing from banks in the U.K., as well as individuals and investors overseas.

Graeme said: “The funding is in place and we’re ready to go. We’re keen to take advantage of the market conditions UK-wide and grow our property business as quickly as possible. Our backers are excited by both the market potential and the weak value of the pound, which makes Scotland and the U.K. highly attractive investment territory.”

Graeme is an outspoken commentator on the U.K. property market. He has previously spoken out about the negative way in which renting is perceived in Britain by the public and the media and has applauded suggestions for reforms in the private rental sector to tighten up the rules for private landlords.

PRS Group owns and manages 350+ rental properties all over Scotland, making the Carlings Scotland’s largest independent residential landlords. The couple also head up United Capital, a new player in the financial investment sector.

Scotland’s largest independent private landlord speaks out on ‘cradle-to-grave’ renting

Scotland’s largest independent residential landlord has spoken out on one of the property sector’s hottest topics – so-called ‘cradle-to-grave’ renting.

In an article in today’s Herald newspaper, Graeme Carling, slams the negative way in which renting is perceived by members of the public and the media.

“In everything from casual conversation to newspaper reports, when it comes to stories about people renting their home, the language is subtle, the message clear. Renting is frowned upon, while home ownership is held up as some sort of holy grail,” he writes, adding: “Even the phrase ‘property ladder’ implies there’s something to escape, and if we’re not careful we’ll fall back into it.”

Graeme applauds a recent report from the Resolution Foundation which demands reforms in the private rental sector. And he sets out his views on how he thinks private landlord regulations could be tightened up to address “part-time landlords”.

But he cautions: “Renting is here to stay, and a massive cultural shift is ahead of us. It’s time public perception changed, and private landlords stepped up to the plate. All of us need to start treating renting seriously.”

Graeme’s comments came in the same week that he announced the opening of a new affordable housing development, in Angus. Funding for the £900,000 project, which features apartments and, still to come, houses, came partly from a £300,000 grant from the Scottish Government’s Rural Housing Fund, which aims to increase the supply of affordable housing in rural Scotland.

Read the full article in The Herald here.