The Scottish government has admitted it is considering long-term proposals for rent control after the Cost of Living Act has expired.
Minister for Tenants’ Rights, Patrick Harvie, told MSPs he was satisfied that the moratorium on evictions and the cap on rents in the private rented sector would continue until at least the end of March, but that he expected the rent cap to extend beyond that date. As he delivered the first report in Holyrood - covering October to December 2022 - Harvie said unprecedented economic challenges were continuing to impact on renters and that the measures remained “necessary and proportionate”.
He added there needed to be a bridge between the emergency legislation and the longer-term work. “The changes to the rent adjudication methodology that the emergency act allows us to take forward in future will achieve that. If we simply return from the rent cap to open-market considerations, that could create an extremely damaging cliff edge.”
Some MSPs expressed concern that there had been a marked increase in the number of landlords who were seeking to sell their properties. However, Harvie insisted: “If we had not taken action, tenants in Scotland would have been lumbered with the same kind of excessive, eye-watering increases that tenants south of the border are living with.”
Propertymark says the Scottish Government has again failed to acknowledge the damage that legislation capping rents is causing. Timothy Douglas, head of policy and campaigns, adds: “Unlike for providers of social rented accommodation there has been no task and finish group for the private rented sector to formally raise our concerns.
“Alarmingly, the Minister also failed to acknowledge the impact of planned future legislation for the private rented sector that also includes energy efficiency targets that many landlords will struggle to afford.”