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Rent Control legislation doesn’t go far enough, claims tenants' group

A renters’ union in Scotland claims a proposal to cap rents in the country doesn’t go far enough.

The Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Communities Committee has launched a consultation process on its Fair Rents (Scotland) Bill, which proposes to impose caps on annual rent rises for private tenancies to no more than the rate of the UK-wide Consumer Price Index plus one per cent. 

In addition it wants to give private tenants the right to ask for a “fair open market rent” and it offers tenants an option to appeal any rent increases with the First-Tier Tribunal or Rent Officer - which in turn would have the power only to agree or lower the proposed rent rise, not to increase it. 


The measure also requires private landlords to submit detailed information on a landlord register about the rent they charge and the property they let.

Now a tenants’ group called Living Rent says it welcomes the proposals but wants them to go further. 

In particular it wants local authorities in Scotland to lower the limit on rents in their respective areas. 

Gordon Maloney, on behalf of the group, says: “It is clear that rents in Scotland are utterly out of control, and we desperately need measures to limit them. After the failure of the Scottish Government’s Rent Pressure Zones, this bill is an important step towards ensuring tenants have somewhere safe, secure and affordable to live.

“But the devil is in the detail. New measures must ensure genuine affordability for tenants and not create loopholes for landlords to exploit, such as lifting the cap on rent increases in between tenancies.”


Separately, ARLA Propertymark says with the next Scottish parliamentary elections due in the spring, and considering the ongoing impact of the pandemic, it is possible that the Bill will fall before the poll. 

However, the Local Government and Communities Committee says it will consider its next steps, and the consultation responses, early in 2021.

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    Clear message. Gain 2 steps ahead Put your rents up now! Regardless of whether you intended to in 2021. Most LL I know wearnt going to but with interference in our business you have forced us to. Anyone thinking of selling sell to an owner occupier so inventory is reduced. It’s high time LL’s were treated with more respect

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    Looks like a retrograde step to me. I remember the days when we had a rent officer with information on thousands of rented property in his area. He had the power to lower rents at the stroke of a pen. Market forces were ignored in favour of rents previously set. The setting of a rent level was fixed for 3 years and could only rise if the rent included rates (council tax now) that had risen since the rent level was set. If a tenant was replaced the rent could still not rise until the 3 years had expired.

    Don't want to go back to those times that's for sure

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    Once the state starts to interfere in the free market I would expect to see an exodus of some investors from the lettings market, particularly the residential sector. This socialist approach will unfortunately lead to less choice, less quality housing and the only ones who will suffer long term will the the tenants and of course the landlords who didn't get out quick enough . Funny how policies end up going full circle and politicians seem to ignore lessons from the past.


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