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BREAKING: Scots government U-turns on rent freeze after 'listening to landlords'

patrick harvie rent cap

The Scottish government has '�seen sense' and converted its controversial rent freeze announced last September into a '�rent cap', limiting rent rises in the private sector to between 3% and 6% from April 1st this year.

This decision was announced by housing minister Patrick Harvie (main picture), who it is claimed has listened to the concerns of landlords and letting agents in Scotland.

Subject to the approval of the Scots parliament, changes to the Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) Act will mean that from 1 April:

  • If landlords choose to increase private rents they will be capped at 3%;
  • The safeguard for private landlords will be amended, allowing them to apply for increases of up to 6% to help cover certain increases in costs in defined and limited circumstances;
  • Enforcement of evictions will continue to be prevented for all tenants except in a number of specified circumstances;
  • Increased damages for unlawful evictions of up to 36 months' worth of rent will continue to be applicable;
  • The rent cap for student accommodation will be suspended, recognising its limited impact on annual rents set on the basis of an academic year.

Only a week ago leading figure Jim Parker wrote exclusively for LandlordZONE, warning that the measures, along with the recent increase in stamp duty for buy-to-let purposes, had 'all got too much for the private investor who has consistently propped up and supported the rental sector for the last 20 years'� and that many were leaving.

David Alexander, CEO of DJ Alexander Scotland Ltd, says: 'Given the level of feeling from landlords, property investors, the build to rent sector, universities, the farming community, and others that the rent freeze was damaging the sector and reducing the availability of homes for tenants it is appropriate that the Scottish Government has seen sense and adopted a more conciliatory approach. To do anything else would have simply exacerbated the current housing shortages.'�


Timothy Douglas (pictured), Head of Policy and Campaigns for Propertymark says: 'We have been engaged fully in the development and implementation of the Cost of Living Act, representing our members' views every step of the way.

"Whilst rent cap legislation continues to create uncertainty, agents and landlords will welcome a rise to three per cent, but this is clearly not enough.

"The bigger concern is also the SNP and Scottish Green's desire to push on with permanent rent controls with a new Housing Bill to be produced this year.

"It is vital that we ensure that the residential property sector in Scotland is investible and that is what Propertymark will continue to campaign for.'�


Oli Sherlock (picutred), Director of Insurance at Goodlord, adds: "A rent freeze is a knee-jerk reaction which, although it might help some tenants in the short run, is unsustainable and has the long-term impact of pushing more landlords out the market and squeezing the availability of rental homes.

'A price cap is a more sensible step forward than a freeze, but it's still not addressing the key issues facing the market today.

'We have an economic and regulatory environment that is driving landlords away from the sector and not enough homes to go around.'�

Pic credit: Patrick Harvie/Twitter


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