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Bill to make evictions harder and limit rent rises 'wrong' say landlords

housing bill scotland

The Scottish coalition Government has finally revealed its plans for the private rented sector including permanent rent controls, new rights to keep pets, decorate rented homes and stronger protection against eviction.

Animal charity the Dog’s Trust has welcomed the proposals, saying it was pleased that the Bill, when it becomes law, will mean landlords ‘cannot unreasonably refuse consent for private tenants to keep a pet’.

“We have long called for stronger rights for responsible dog owning tenants to be able to keep a pet.,” it says.

“We will be engaging with the Scottish Government to clarify details of when it would be reasonable for landlords to refuse consent to ensure that tenants are not unjustly denied the right to keep a pet.”

But landlords and letting agents, who will face higher costs, more red tape and greater difficulties when evicting tenants, have been less kind.

Rent control areas

David Alexander (pictured), boss of lettings firm DJ Alexander, points out that the Bill ‘once again’ introduces rent control areas without evidence that they have ever worked anywhere in the world.

“The recent experience in Scotland of the rent cap introduced in October 2022 has resulted in unprecedented demand and rents rising at their fastest ever rate, and a housing sector that is in crisis with four local authorities having said they were experiencing a housing emergency,” he says.

“The problem is this Bill will be extremely difficult to implement in practice.

“Will a designated rent control area be an entire council area, specific areas, and how will councils be able to collate all of the relevant data on tens of thousands of rents if the system is to be able to accurately assess rent levels and rent increases.

John Blackwood, Chief Executive of the Scottish Association of Landlords, says: "Despite the hype and promises from the Scottish Government, it seems these proposals will do nothing to help either tenants or landlords in the private rented sector."

"The rent control proposals, as has been seen in places like Ireland which has similar measures, will see reduced investment and more landlords leaving the sector, leading to higher costs for tenants.

"The effects of Scottish Government policies in the PRS are already being felt, with rising costs reducing supply and placing more pressure on council and housing association properties that they are struggling to cope with.

"As landlords have said for a number of years, what is needed is a coordinated plan to build more social housing, encourage more investment in private renting and the building of more owner-occupied homes."

Laid bare

Timothy Douglas, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Propertymark says: “The Scottish Government’s continued quest for rent control and restrictions on rent increases are laid bare in the Housing (Scotland) Bill.

“The measures will do nothing but add extra burden on landlords and local authorities with no additional reward for tenants at a time when resources and finances are under extreme pressure.”

Housing minister Patrick Harvie, who has been the Bill’s main architect, has defended its measures, saying: “A fairer, well-regulated rented sector is good for both tenants and landlords. “Tenants benefit from improved conditions and security, while good responsible landlords will thrive when their good practice is recognised by regulation.”

Read the bill and its full set of measures


scottish rental reforms