Plans to extend private rent cap in Scotland past six months

The emergency measures would see private rent increases for rental housing capped at 3% by the end of March next year, if approved by Parliament.

It is currently set to last until September 30, but Green Party Tenants’ Rights Minister Patrick Harvie said the extension would give tenants “much-needed stability to their housing costs”.

A ban on the enforcement of evictions would also be extended by another six months – albeit with a number of specific exceptions.

A freeze on social rent increases was lifted earlier this year after the Scottish Government struck a deal with landlords – such as local authorities and housing associations – to keep increases below inflation levels.

READ MORE: Rent cap extended but allows for a three percent increase from April

Mr Harvie said: “As the cost-of-living crisis continues, these measures represent important support for tenants, giving them much-needed stability in their housing costs and additional eviction protection.”

“As the social housing industry has agreed its rents in consultation with its tenants, the focus of this temporary legislation is to provide private tenants with similar protections.”

The MSP acknowledged that landlords were also “affected by rising costs”.

Private landlords have the opportunity to apply for a surcharge of up to 6% to cover certain costs if they can prove the costs.

Mr Harvie said this “ensures landlords who may be impacted by the cost of living crisis can recover some increased costs related to their rented property.”

“The latest date, March 31, 2024, would be valid for as long as the rent cap and eviction protection could apply if approved by Parliament.

“The necessity of these measures will be continually reviewed and we will continue to assess whether they remain warranted, balanced and proportionate given the financial burdens rented households and landlords are facing.”

“We are also looking at how to get out of the emergency measures and we continue to listen to and work hard with stakeholders to develop and implement rental sector reform.”

The plans have been welcomed by Scottish tenants’ union Living Rent.

Minister Aditi Jehangir said: “This announcement comes as a huge relief to private tenants. Inflation may have come down, but working people are still struggling to make ends meet.”

“Rents are still sky high and food and energy bills continue to push too many people into poverty.”

But she added that rent rate controls that would bring down high costs for private tenants were needed before the emergency measures were lifted.

Ms Jehangr said: “And to ensure there is a smooth transition and no cliffs for tenants when the cap expires, the government must have in place rent rate controls by March 2024 that: lower rents, raise quality standards and…” tied to the property, not to the tenancy.

“Until then, these emergency preparedness measures will go a long way in helping tenants stay in their homes and not face skyrocketing rent increases as the cost of living continues to plummet.”

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