Rent Freeze in Scotland ‘A Huge Relief’

The Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) Act is now the law and came into force on 28th of October. It gives Ministers in the Scottish Government temporary power to cap rent increases for private and social tenants, as well as for student accommodation.

The organisations ‘Living Rent’ which represents renters said:

“This is a huge relief and a massive win. With the cost of living crisis and the economy being driven into the ground by our politicians, we have pushed the government into shielding most tenants from further increases and leveled the ground for the introduction of rent controls.

“But there is still work to do. Landlords are still able to hike up rents between tenancies. At the moment, new rents are often going for an average 18% increase on top of rents which were already completely unaffordable. In addition, due to the rent freeze being scheduled for review at the end of March, it is unclear what effect this will have on social and council housing tenants whose rents increase at the beginning of April.

“We need a permanent solution to this crisis. That means rent controls which bring down rents and the extension of rent freeze and emergency protections until rent controls come in. Otherwise, landlords will simply hike up rents the moment the rent freeze ends and drive tenants further into poverty.”

Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Emma Roddick has said that she will continue to press for more action in support of tenants. Commenting on the Act she said:

“As many know, housing is an issue that I am deeply passionate about, so the passing of this bill and its coming into force means a great deal to me.

“As the pressures of the cost-of-living crisis have continued to worsen and affect a greater number of people, I have become more and more concerned about those who were already facing difficult times in my region, and how they will cope over the cold winter months.

“As households continue to struggle and bear the brunt of rising energy costs, this freeze will be a lifeline for so many.

“There is undoubtedly more work to be done, and I will continue to press for more action for those who need it the most, but this legislation becoming law is certainly a starting point and will alleviate some of the pressures facing those in the Highlands and Islands and across the rest of Scotland this winter.”

The new Act in Scotland applies to in-tenancy rent increases, with the cap set at 0% from 6 September 2022 until at least 31 March 2023, effectively freezing rents for most tenants during this period.

Enforcement of eviction actions resulting from the cost crisis are prevented over the same period except in a number of specified circumstances, and damages for unlawful evictions have been increased to a maximum of 36 months’ worth of rent.

Tenants’ Rights Minister in the Scottish Government Patrick Harvie said:

“Many people who rent their homes are facing real difficulties as a result of the cost of living crisis. While bills are rising for all of us, many tenants are more exposed as they are more likely to be on low incomes or living in poverty than other people.

“These measures aim to give tenants greater confidence about their housing costs and the security of a stable home.

“Some landlords may be feeling the effects of this crisis too. So while the primary purpose is to protect tenants, the emergency measures also include safeguards for those landlords who may be impacted. 

“For anyone struggling with their rent, I would urge you to contact your landlord, an advice organisation or a tenants’ union to get help as early as possible.”

Click on this link for support and advice: Help during the cost of living crisis

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1 reply »

  1. While on the face if it this sounds like a helpful policy as far as tenants are concerned. The real issue in housing, however, is a lack of supply of affordable social housing. Freezing rents for any length of time certainly in housing association properties, which have generally much cheaper rents than private stocks, will only exacerbate the housing crisis. Particularly as far as providing the governments pledge of a further 110,000 social units. With no extra grant to build, copious amounts of environmental regulations and the huge increase in construction costs, most housing associations will need to curb their development plans. So who is going to build all these extra homes?