Private housing rent rises capped for six months

A moratorium on evictions will remain in place until September, but the rent increase cap will rise slightly.

Scottish private housing rent caps extended by six months until September STV News

Rent rises will be capped at 3% and evictions will still be banned under Scottish Government plans to extend emergency provisions designed to tackle the cost of living crisis.

Tenants’ rights minister Patrick Harvie announced the move – which will be subject to parliamentary approval – on Thursday, pledging to amend the emergency Bill passed last year.

Private landlords will only be allowed to raise rents by a maximum of 3% but they can apply to Rent Service Scotland to increase the figure to 6% if they have a valid reason.

Eviction enforcement will also continue to be suspended, except in certain circumstances, however campaigners say the move does not go far enough.

Living Rent spokesperson Ruth Gilbert said the extension leaves social tenants vulnerable to landlords extending rents by up to 11%.

The Scottish Government will be able to seek a further six-month extension beyond the September 30 expiry of the legislation.

“Our emergency legislation has helped protect tenants facing the cost-of-living crisis,” Harvie said.

“With many households still struggling with bills, it is clear that these protections are still needed to give tenants greater confidence about their housing costs and the security of a stable home.

“While the primary purpose of the legislation is to support tenants, I recognise that costs have been rising for landlords too.

“That’s why we intend to allow those in the private sector to increase rents by up to 3%, with a continued safeguard allowing them to apply for larger increases to cover specified rising costs they might be seeing as landlords.

“By allowing increases in rent – capped well below inflation and limited to once per 12 months – we can continue protecting tenants from the minority of landlords who would impose unaffordable rent hikes.

“We will continue to carefully monitor the impacts of this legislation, working with tenants and landlords to protect them from this costs crisis.”

Gilbert said the move “ignored the fundamental problem that rent was already completely unaffordable” for some tenants.

She added soaring energy and food bills combined with stagnant wages were creating a “perfect storm” for those in rental accommodation across the board.

“The Government needs to recognise that we are still in an emergency situation and tenants are facing crisis after crisis,” she said.

“The Government is letting social landlords increase rent by up to 11%. Even the Tories in England are proposing to cap social rents below this.

“Tenants in social housing are among the most vulnerable to increases in costs and by the government’s own admission, 63% of social households do not have the savings to cover next month’s rent. Any rent increase will have a huge impact for tenants across the sector.

“Tenants simply can not afford any rent increases, tenants need rent controls to bring rents down before the government removes the rent freeze.”

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