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Rent Freeze - Agents ask whether it’s even legal

It’s being reported in Scotland that Propertymark, along with other lettings sector trade bodies, are seeking legal advice on that country’s rent freeze. 

A rent freeze for the private and social rental sectors has been approved by the SNP-Green politicians ruling the country; the freeze is to be in place for six months with possible extensions taking it to March 2024.

But now the Scottish Association of Landlords, Propertymark, the National Residential Landlords Association and Scottish Land and Estates are seeking independent legal opinion to test the validity of the new law which they say “breaches the individual rights of landlords”.


Nathan Emerson, Propertymark chief executive, comments: “The concern we hold over this new legislation is the lack of evidence and rushed consultation before large decisions are being made that will significantly impact the use and ownership of property.

“Landlords and agents alike have proven their ability over the pandemic to work with tenants, many landlords have kept their rents lower in a bid to help but it must be acknowledged that their costs are rising too.

‘This legislation is huge for the sector and the impact on those providing much needed homes must not be underestimated.”

And John Blackwood, the Scottish Association of Landlords’ chief executive, says: “With a heavy heart, SAL, in partnership with SLE, the NRLA, and Propertymark is taking legal counsel about the Scottish Government’s rent freeze and eviction ban legislation.

“Seeking a legal opinion has been our last resort because our concerns are not being listened to by the Scottish Government.

“This emergency legislation is high-minded in spirit but lacking in the kind of detail landlords need assurance about. 

“Uncertainty for landlords only creates ambiguity for tenants, and I do not think the government appreciates the level of confusion it has now created.

“We have repeatedly said we are all willing to work with the Scottish Government and ministers. This is a tough time, but that does not excuse ill-designed legislation that may be the final straw for the private rented sector.

“We are gravely concerned that in a bid to do something to help tenants, the Scottish Government have forgotten the underlying stresses in the PRS that we have been warning about for years.” 

The opinion of the counsel, Lord Davidson, should be known within the next month.


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