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Lettings sector rule changes fail to disrupt Scottish rental stability

New figures show that the Scottish rental market returned to growth in September with average growth of 0.1 per cent across the country. 

Your Move Scotland found that the average rent in the nation was £572 per calendar month.

However, while the overall market grew slightly, this figure masks variations between regions. Some saw strong growth in the last year while others suffered modest falls in average rents. 

The Highlands and Islands region cemented its position as the most expensive place to rent in the country, Your Move Scotland found. 

Last month the region leapfrogged the Edinburgh and Lothians region to take the crown as Scotland’s most expensive area. This month, the average rent in the Highlands stands at £693 following growth of 13.7 per cent in the last year. 

In the Edinburgh and Lothians region, prices grew at a more modest rate. The average rent increased by 2.1 per cent in the year to September, to stand at an average of £683. 

Elsewhere, rents have also grown substantially. In the Glasgow and the Clyde region the average renter now pays £611 per calendar month, this follows growth of 12.9 per cent in the last year. 

There were falls in rents in the remaining two regions. In the East of Scotland prices dropped by 1.9 per cent and now stand at £528, making the East the cheapest region to rent in Scotland. 

Finally, in the South of Scotland, prices fell faster - declining 4.4 per cent - and are now £538.

The relatively stable market follows substantial regulation changes so far this year.

The Letting Agent Code of Practice was introduced on January 31 and all agencies were required to sign up to the new rules by September 30 if they wished to continue operating in the sector. 

Now it is a criminal offence to conduct letting agency work if you aren’t on the register. Those breaking the rules could face a fine of up to £50,000 and up to six months imprisonment. 

The Scottish Government says these rules are intended to increase professionalism in the sector and make sure that agents are properly able to handle money received from both tenants and landlords. 

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