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Propertymark backs legal challenge to government rent controls

Propertymark is one of three lettings organisations behind a bid to get a Judicial Review of the Scottish Government’s rent controls and evict an legislation.

Propertymark chief executive Nathan Emerson says: “The legislation is being made without any clear evidence as to its need. However, the immediate effects are clear to those on the coal face of the problem, as a direct result of the Scottish Government’s initial decision to cap rents at zero, 68 per cent of Scottish letting agents report an increase in notices to sell from landlords.”

“Private landlords provide homes on a huge scale for people, and they must be able to cover the costs of outgoings on the property. Repairs and maintenance costs are not solely applicable for social landlords and it’s essential for landlords to be able to keep properties to a high standard in the interests of their tenants.”


“Unlike for providers of social rented accommodation there has been no task and finish group for the private rented sector to formally raise our concerns.”  

”The private rented sector has been clearly singled out with complete disregard for the positive impact it provides. It is vital that we ensure that the residential property sector in Scotland is investible and that is why we have been left with no choice but to formally object to these measures with the Court of Session in Scotland.”

Now Propertymark - along with the Scottish Association of Landlords and Scottish Land and Estates - have submitted a Petition to the Court of Session in Edinburgh seeking a Judicial Review of the Scottish Government’s rent control and eviction ban legislation.  

In the petition, the three groups say they believe the law is disproportionate and unfair. 

This is further exacerbated by the decision to retain rent control for the private rented sector and remove it for the social rented sector from April.

Specifically, the petition highlights:

- The rent control applies irrespective of the financial position of both the tenant and landlord;

- The recent decision by the Scottish Government to remove the cap for social landlords means a well-off individual renting in the private sector is provided financial protection not available to someone in more challenging financial circumstances in the social sector;

- In the decision to remove the rent control in the social sector, the Scottish Government acknowledges the need for maintenance of these properties but has not given the same consideration to landlords in the private sector; 

- The law does not make any distinction or provide relief based on different circumstances of landlords, between larger, institutional companies who might be able to shoulder increased costs, and individual landlords who cannot; and 

- The eviction ban creates a delay in addressing matters such as arrears which adversely impacts landlord cash flow culminating in a reduction in capital value.

The petition further argues that by discriminating in the way it does, the law breaches the European Convention of Human Rights which states “The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in the Convention shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as … association with … property…”

The Scottish Government will now be asked if they wish to provide a response before the petition is considered by the Court.


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