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Activists urge ministers to go further with rent controls

rent controls

Arguments between politicians, landlords, charities and both tenant and trade unions in Scotland about what to do when the country’s ongoing rent cap scheme ends on 31st March deadline have heated up.

In an open letter to First Minister Humza Yousaf, Housing Minister Paul McLennan and Tenants’ Rights Minister Patrick Harvie, a coalition of campaigning groups has urged them to prevent escalating evictions, rapid increases in homelessness, and an overall rise in poverty.

The Scottish government has proposed to temporarily change the rent adjudication process for one year when the Cost of Living rent cap measures end on 31st March.

Landlords will then be able to return their rent prices to the open market value, allowing tenants to apply to Rent Service Scotland or to the first-tier tribunal if they feel the increase is unwarranted.

However, the groups, including Living Rent and UNISON Scotland, want a national rent cap until ‘permanent and robust’ rent controls are introduced.


The letter says: “The proposed ‘transitional’ rent adjudication measures announced in January are confusing and difficult to enforce.

“As a result, we will see people facing unaffordable rent increases up and down the country, which will act as de facto evictions and push more people into poverty.”

They blame long-term, insufficient regulation in the private rented sector for an extortionate rise in private rents year-on-year, exacerbated by the cost-of-living crisis. In the past year, rents across Scotland increased by 14.3%.

The letter adds that unaffordable rents are a major driver of poverty. “Housing is the largest financial outgoing in most households, and while low pay is the main cause of escalating poverty rates, our market-driven housing system is the main driver of both poverty and wealth.

“The Scottish government must deliver affordable, secure, quality housing in both the private and social sector if it is serious about achieving its 2030 poverty reduction targets.”

As LandlordZONE reported last month, Scotland’s landlords agree with the coalition one key point - that the system as it stands has been too complicated and, if continued, would make both tenants’ and landlords’ lives more difficult, not easier.


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