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Minister claims rent controls 'are working' for tenants and landlords

mclennan scotland snp rent controls

Scotland’s housing minister has defended the country’s policy of rent and eviction controls despite new figures showing rents continuing to rise.

Speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme about the growing problem of homelessness and Edinburgh’s highest rental inflation rate in the UK, the SNP’s Paul McLennan insisted the government’s measures were working.

“The evidence backs this up in terms of evictions and homelessness in the PRS. In the second half of 2023 we’ve seen a 26% drop in evictions,” he said.

Scottish Government figures for the year to September put the average rent for a two-bedroom house at £841 – up £105 compared with the previous year. Average rents rose by 14% across the sector, but in Glasgow the increase was 22%.

Rent controls

Challenged about landlords withdrawing from the sector - reducing supply - and rents rising more in Scotland than in England, McLennan explained: “It’s down to supply and demand – in terms of rent controls…existing residents are included in that. If someone moves out it gives the landlord the opportunity to raise the rent.”

He said the number of registered landlords was slightly up by 1.1% and added: “These were temporary measures. Our new housing bill coming forward shortly will look at longer term measures. We also need to be building more houses.”

The Scottish government reintroduced a rent freeze and eviction ban in September 2022 and those protections largely remain, with evictions paused and in-tenancy rent increases capped at 3% until March 2024.

However, Propertymark has found that landlords are more inclined to raise rents in between tenancies to cover additional expenses created by new regulation, running costs and rising mortgage rates.

Tenants’ rights minister Patrick Harvie plans to introduce long-term rent controls before the end of the current parliament.

Pic credit: SNP

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