'Rent freeze needed to protects tenants from cost of living crisis'

Ministers have been urged to take action to help tackle the crisis.

Scottish rent controls policy ‘long overdue’ as housing costs soar amid cost of living crisis iStock

An immediate rent freeze is needed to protect tenants to get them through the cost of living crisis, ministers have been told.

It comes after Ofgem on Friday confirmed that the energy price cap will jump by 80%.

The rise will see the annual bill for an average household increase from £1,971 to £3,549 in October.

Financial strain has been mounting for tenants across Scotland with average monthly rents rising.

According to property analysts Citylets, rents rose by 9.9% year-on-year in the second quarter of 2022 to an average of £970.

The average property for rent in Scotland is now being forecast to exceed £1,000 for the first time.

Living Rent, Scotland’s tenants’ union, has called for emergency measures to help to protect tenants from evictions and further rent hikes.

Scottish Labour has criticised the Scottish Government for not taking action to ease the pressure on tenants.

The Scottish Government has said that there are strict legal processes in place that a private sector landlord must follow in order to increase rent.

Mark Griffin, Scottish Labour’s housing spokesperson, said the SNP had blocked his party’s plans for rent controls.

And he called for “long-overdue” urgency to deliver the measure.

“Rent is soaring at record rates while the SNP-Green government sit on their hands,” said Griffin.

“People across Scotland are already facing the impossible choices this winter, and rip-off rents will pile pressure on tenants when they can least afford it.

“The SNP wasted years blocking Labour’s plans for rent controls and dragging their heels, while the Greens’ screeching U-turn on rent freezes has left the last of their credibility in tatters.

“We need an immediate rent freeze to protect tenants from spiralling costs and get them through this crisis, as well as some long-overdue urgency delivering long-term rent controls.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said that tenants can challenge any unfair rise to their rent.

“The Scottish Government recognises the enormous pressures households are facing right now,” they said.

“There are strict legal processes a private sector landlord must follow to increase rent, including only being able to raise rent once a year and providing three months’ notice. Tenants can also challenge any unfair rise.

“Just this week we published responses to our New Deal for Tenants proposals which show how much interest there is in delivering improvements for tenants including robust rent controls giving long-lasting benefit to tenants.”

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