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Rent Controls - we’re unlikely to follow Scotland, says housing chief

The Housing Secretary in Wales says that nation is unlikely to follow the example of Scotland by introducing rent controls.

At a Welsh Parliament public enquiry into the country’s private rental sector, Housing Secretary Julie James was pressed for her views on rent controls in Scotland. 

“We’ve got some evidence, although it’s early days, to be fair, so we’ll want to monitor that for a longer time period. But, so far, the evidence is it’s not having the desired effect” said James.


In media reports of the enquiry, James is said to have pointed to a Welsh Government green paper calling for evidence on the right to adequate housing and rent control policies, with a second consultation to follow in summer.

“We’re very keen to look at international examples from all over the place in terms of what works to get affordable rents into the sector.” 

Suggesting the Welsh housing quality standard should be extended to the private sector, James warned of a fundamental power imbalance between landlords and tenants. She also criticised the UK Government for reneging on a commitment to uplift quality standards for the private rented sector at the last minute.

The housing secretary said protections under Wales’ Renting Homes Act have led to a substantial drop in evictions since coming into force in December 2022.

James also pointed to guidance that landlords cannot unreasonably refuse the right to have a pet but she stressed there must be sensible limits

Recalling how she was once called to a high-rise building while working for Swansea council, she said: “We took an engineer with us and the lift kept breaking because people on the seventh floor were keeping a horse in their kitchen. This horse was relieving itself in the lift on the way down and it was breaking the mechanism. It was quite something to see this horse in this kitchen, I have to say.”

* Propertymark has responded to the resignation of Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf by saying: “The First Minister will change but the issues facing Scotland’s housing sector won’t until those running the country immediately tackle the cost of renting through increasing supply of homes for people to rent and review the cost of providing rented property and purchasing a home to live in. Humza Yousaf’s resignation is a chance for his replacement to re-evaluate plans for rent control, boost investment and set out a road map for the sector to reduce its carbon footprint with clear funding incentives and achievable targets.”


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