Landlords in Scotland face further pain after it was announced today that it will for a second time extend the rent cap and evictions freeze first introduced in October last year to help combat rising inflation.
The measures within the Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) (Scotland) Act 2022 were set to expire at the end of March and were then extended until the end of September.
Now, a further six-month extension has been agreed by Scottish Ministers, meaning landlords with properties within Scotland will continue to face restrictions to rent rises and evictions until March 2024.
Ministers have modified some of the Act since October including exempting social housing and student accommodation and raising the rent cap ceiling from 0% to 3%, and allowing rents to be raised by 6% in exceptional circumstances, that have to be signed off by officials.
Minister for Tenants' Rights Patrick Harvie (main picture) has promised this will be the ‘final’ extension of the measures but has threatened to bring in lesser restrictions after March 2024 to stop an avalanche of rent increases via Scotland’s ‘rent adjudication process’.
“As the cost of living crisis continues, these measures are giving important support to tenants, providing them with much-needed stability in their housing costs and additional eviction protections," he says.
"We know some landlords are impacted by rising costs too. The option of increasing rents by 6% in specified circumstances ensures landlords who may be impacted by the cost of living crisis can recover some increased costs associated with their let property.
"Renters in particular have lower household incomes, higher levels of poverty and are more vulnerable to economic shocks.
“Careful consideration has also been given to striking a fair balance between the protection of tenants and the property rights of landlords.”
The UKAA, which represents build-to-rent landlords, says: “In principle, the UKAA opposes rent cap in any form as it lowers confidence and inhibits the BTR industry’s ability to deliver customer, community and investor value.
“Investors invest for the long term, for stable returns and if rent control is in play, it can disrupt and harm the certainty of those returns.”