Private tenants ‘face big rent rises and mass evictions’

Private tenants in Scotland are facing sharp rent increases and mass evictions as emergency protections expire at the end of March, campaigners have warned.

A 3% cap on all in-tenancy rent increases in the private rented sector as well as protections against eviction were first introduced in September 2022. The emergency legislation, led by the Scottish National party’s governing partners, the Scottish Greens, was intended as a temporary response to the cost-of-living crisis and comes to an end on 31 March.

The Scottish government has “in effect rubber-stamped rent increases from April”, said Ruth Gilbert, the national campaigns chair of the Scotland-wide tenants’ union Living Rent.

She also described transitional measures as inadequate and confusing, claiming that it leaves many renters unaware what their legal rights are.

Living Rent says it is already seeing cases of tenants being served with notice of rent increases of between 30% and 60% in advance of the cap ending, even though they are entitled to a three-month notice period from 1 April.

“We’re also worried that the scale of evictions, because if you can’t afford your rent hike then that is an eviction whether you call it one or not,” said Gilbert. “Particularly across the central belt in Glasgow and Edinburgh, people are already paying well over half their take-home pay on rent.”

In January, the Scottish government proposed changes to the process for rent adjudication, with any tenant who wants to dispute a rent increase able to apply for this. The plans are designed to bridge the gap between the end of emergency protections and the housing bill becoming legislation.

The bill includes a long-term system of rent controls and new rights for tenants, and is expected to have its first debate before summer recess.

These changes introduce a formula for assessing rent rises against market rates, which Living Rent says is confusing.

“Over the last decade, we’ve had rents spiral out of control. Rents increased 80% in a decade in Glasgow: those figures are astronomical and if rents are genuinely going to become affordable there needs to be a mechanism to reverse this. That’s our vision,” Gilbert added.

 

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3 Comments

  1. NW.Landlord

    How about pegging rents at the same % rise as council tax? A cost of living crisis that didn’t affect landlords – inflation was running at 8% and mortgage rates jumped during the cap. What could possibly go wrong??

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  2. letstalk

    Once again campaigning to control a market that operates by supply and demand forces has an unintended consequence. When are campaigners and governments going to accept the yin and yang effect and accept that the best way to solve the problems with housing is more social housing to level out the playing field of supply and demand. But, of course, its so much simple to (hide behind) blame landlords….

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  3. MickRoberts

    Living Rent and Shelter. We keep telling u this is gonna happen. U keep beating Landlords too much and telling me they can’t do what they like with their houses they’ve took years to get and they will pack up and u will be left with zero supply. The remaining King will charge what he likes. We have zero competition.

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