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Rent Freeze - Political dogma or Genuinely needed?

An influential housing body has criticised the Green and SNP politicians behind the Scottish Government’s rent cap, which has been renewed for a further six months from April - at least.

The Scottish Government this week confirmed that the zero per cent rent increase cap - introduced in the autumn as part of the Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) (Scotland) Act 2022 - will be extended for at least six months beyond the April 2023 date at which it was thought to end. There is legislative scope for a second additional six month extension.  

The measure also includes what is effectively a ban on evictions, too.


However, Scottish Government tenants minister Patrick Harvie says the rent cap from the social rented sector will end this coming April, as originally pledged. 

Quite why the private rental sector has been treated differently has provoked an angry response from the Chartered Institute of Housing Scotland, which is concerned at the absence of transparency for the reasons behind extending the freeze.

CIH Scotland national director Callum Chomczuk says: “We are disappointed about the decision of the Scottish Government to both maintain the rent control provision for the private rental sector and continue the extraordinary eviction protection measures across the whole rented sector.

“We remain concerned that the continuation of the rent cap in the private rental sector will have significant unintended consequences which will undermine tenants’ housing outcomes. This policy is likely to encourage landlords to increase rents between tenancies when they may not otherwise have done so. Additionally, it will drive some landlords out of the market, reducing the supply of privately rented accommodation available.

“The Scottish Government has strived to strike a balance between protecting tenant and recognising the need for investment in the social sector, we would encourage ministers to set clear parameters that give certainty to the private rental sector about under what circumstance a rent cap can be lifted.

“Equally social and private landlords deserve clarity under what circumstances normal eviction proceedings will return. 

“In most cases landlords only evict tenants as a last resort and in extreme circumstance. Landlords and the courts are best placed to determine the validity and appropriateness of any eviction proceedings, rather than be subject to extraordinary protection measures.”


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