Scotland has launched plans for an overhaul of its rented sector that include a controversial system of rent controls.

Proposals also include increasing penalties for illegal evictions, restricting evictions during winter, giving tenants greater flexibility to keep pets, introducing a new Housing Standard and PRS regulator and setting minimum standards for energy efficiency.

The government’s new deal for tenants promises to deliver stronger rights and a fairer rented sector that welcomes responsible landlords.

Tenants’ Rights Minister Patrick Harvie (main pic) explains that the proposals will significantly improve the lives of Scotland’s tenants in both private and social housing, giving them more stability, more choice over where they live and how they decorate their homes, and the confidence that their home will be of high quality.

Responsible landlords

“At the same time, it will recognise the interests of good quality, responsible landlords,” says Harvie. “We will be working in partnership with landlords, letting agents, tenants and others to deliver this strategy, and we want to gather the broadest range of views.”

However, David Alexander (pictured), CEO of estate and letting agency DJ Alexander, believes rent controls have never worked anywhere and invariably lead to fewer properties on the market and more housing shortages.

“It is important to remember that landlords and property investors can go elsewhere,” he says.

“If the approach to resolving Scotland’s housing shortage is simply to attack one part of the sector, then there is every likelihood of failure. The alternative to inclusivity could lead to a shortage of housing and a consequent slowing of economic growth.”

The results of a government consultation – which closes on 15th April – will feed into the final version of the strategy to be published next year, with elements of the proposals put to the Scottish Parliament in a Housing Bill in 2023.

The rent control proposals set out reforms to the existing rent adjudication process, and the government will gather evidence to inform a future consultation specifically on these controls.


  1. ‘A fairer rented sector that welcomes responsible landlords’ – thank you so much for allowing me to risk my hard earned money to provide housing for people who can’t afford to buy their own. Thanks, but no thanks! Where are all the tenants going to live when the decent LLs have all sold up?

  2. Read into rent controls and basically they work in the short term and then once rents become capped lower than market rent new properties or properties that are allowed to be let at market rent become more expensive so the people that stay in the capped accommodation are subsidised by the rest. The policy needs needs to factor in who they are trying to help rather than a blanket rent cap. It also causes landlords to convert, sell up or do whatever they can to circumvent the rules. I think a benefit system that subsides rents for the poor is a much better policy. In Ireland there a properties coming to market that are €300/400 less than market rent per month with a list of tenants that want to rent and agents taking huge cash backhanders to whoever gets the property

  3. The last tenant in one of my properties had two dogs. Thousands of pounds later – brand new carpets in every room, disinfection f all the floorboards, wall repairs and redecoration I now have a strict no dogs policy. ‘Human rights’ also extend to the person taking the risk with tenants.

    Somehow the governments seem to have conveniently forgotten that it is private landlords keeping the private rental and social housing market moving no thanks to their policies of (deliberate?) low house building achievements and sluggish planning reforms.

  4. Surely, the market will decide ‘market rents’ locall,y based on the shortage of accommodation (nationwide) – brought about by insufficiant house building and failure of successive Governments to get enough affordable housing built. Rent controls and the increasing legislative burden on PRS landlords will force many out of the sector and worsen the accommodation shortage. By all means, rid the sector of bad landlords and poor standard accommodation but don’t get rid of good landlords and accommodation at the same time as rent controls willl surely do. Also, the same EPC and safety standards should apply to to all housing (including private and social). Governments need to realise that PRS cannnot replace the need for sufficient quantity of social housing through local authorities or housing associations.

  5. Unfortunately the PTB fail to understand that Private Housing Providers aka LL seek to make as much PROFIT as they can.

    Obviously suitably constrained by relevant regulations.

    Private LL are as businesses subject to the vagaries of market forces.

    Most LL accept they are subject to these market forces.

    Govt seems to have in it’s head that it can force LL to use their capital resources in the way that Govt wants.
    I’m afraid as is evidenced currently and will be in the coming years that Govt will sadly be disabused of this concept.

    LL will NOT adhere to being channelled into ways of doing business that Govt wants.

    Only Communism will achieve that!

    LL will continue to divest or invest in other business models that don’t involve letting to tenants on any form of residential TA.

    Govt is making that business model unviable.

    Nowhere is it written that PHP are expected to provide long term accommodation if a tenant desires such.

    LL determine what they will do with their private residential property assets.

    If this means millions of homeless tenants then so be it.
    It is NOT the responsibility of ANY private housing provider to provide long term secure private rental accommodation.

    A LL must ALWAYS be in the position to manage assets as deemed appropriate.

    LL owe NOTHING to tenants.

    Being a LL just involves an offer to treat by the LL which the prospective tenant may refuse or accept.

    NO LL has EVER been able to force a tenant to sign a TA.

    Rent control will have a massive effect on residential property capital values.
    BTL Lenders will only lend based on the Rent Controlled rent.

    Market rents will remain ABOVE controlled rent.

    Just HMRC will know nothing about it as the market rent will be passed as cash to the LL

    The capital values will reduce as the PRS supports and maintains capital values in the rest of the housing sector.
    It will cause massive negative equity.

    The unintended consequences of rent controls are so massive that the housing market will be severely compromised.

    A UK Govt that imperils capital values is looking at being an ex-Govt when the electorate has opportunity to get rid of them.

    When you have MASS UNCONTROLLED IMMIGRATION facilitated largely by successive Labour Govts with building sufficient residential accommodation and associated infrastructure it is hardly surprising that the housing market is in the state that it currently is

    LL haven’t caused this.

    They have simply responded to market forces and have a provisioned accommodation that nobody else has bothered to do!

    It is Govt policies causing the housing market problems; not PRIVATE HOUSING PROVIDERS.

    It is NO wonder that pragmatic LL are withdrawing from the TA rental market.

    That market is being made increasingly unviable by Govt.

    If Govt continues with it’s bonkers policies it will find over the next few years that PRS will be a shadow of it’s former self.

    I’m sure that is NOT something tenants desire nor residential property owners.


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