Mum facing 'outrageous' 40% rent hike as government's emergency cap lifted

Lorraine Beattie is facing a rent increase of £170 a month on the flat she has lived in for over five years.

Unions are warning private tenants are facing sky-high rent rises and mass evictions after an emergency rent cap was lifted earlier this week.

Living Rent is calling on the Scottish Government to extend the protections, which were brought in to freeze rent during the cost of living crisis.

Patrick Harvie, the tenants rights minister, says renters have powers to challenge their landlords on rent hikes in an adjucation process.

Living Rent say tenants are being exploited and left vulnerable to unaffordable rents.

Lorraine has been living in a flat near Wishaw, North Lanarkshire with her son for over five years.

Adith Jehangir from Living Rent

She said she is being forced out after her rent increased by £170 a month.

She told STV News: “I thought it was outrageous, to be honest. Not really manageable. I think in this current climate, to have an increase of 40% is very rough.

“It costs a lot. These flats are leaky, the windows are leaky because they’re not double-glazed, it’s drafty. It’s unaffordable and I work full time.

“Even if they could have done it in stages, that would be more manageable. If they used the Scottish Government calculator and put in a maximum of 12% on at the time. I have proposed that but I’ve had nothing back.

“This is my house. I’ve still got a son I am responsible for. I’ve been here for five years. What am I supposed to do?”

Measures including a 3% cap on in-tenancy rent increases and extra protection against evictions were introduced in 2022. That emergency legislation has been lifted.

Adith Jehangir from Living Rent said: “We’ve been hearing of tenants getting rent increases before the rent cap, which is illegal. A lot of friends and tenants I know are getting rent increases straight away.

“Everyone is quite worried – if you get a big rent increase it feels like an eviction, really.”

Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie said: “It’s really important that we don’t have a cliff edge.

“I’ve had of constituents telling me they have been threatened with 50, 60 and even 70% rent increases. That’s unacceptable.

Karen Turner, lettings director at Rettie

“That extreme level of rent increase would break the back of a household budgets.

“We’ve already put in temporary measures towards the end of the rent cap, that will extend on a continual basis for as long as government and the parliament decide it is proportional and necessary in the circumstances.”

But landlords say they are dealing with rising costs, with many opting out of the market or selling their homes altogether.

Rettie lettings director Karen Turner said: “They’ve seen increases in their buy-to-let mortgages, insurance costs, just everything across the piste like the rest of us.

“For landlords, that’s no different for them. For some a little bit more hardship than others has been faced given their own circumstances.

“Most of the support out there is certainly in favour of tenants, there’s certainly not much for landlords.”

It comes after a housing emergency was declared in four council areas.

Glasgow, Edinburgh, Argyll & Bute and Fife have reported facing unprecedented pressures on housing and homelessness services as demand outstrips supply.

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