By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies to enhance your experience.
Graham Awards


 Stop Killing Market with Rent Controls, agents tell minister

Propertymark has urged Scotland’s new First Minister to end the country’s housing emergency.

John Swinney is now First Minister and says he intents to make housing his priority in office. 

Humza Yousaf’s resignation as First Minister was triggered by the collapse of the 2021 Bute House Agreement and the deal it created between the Scottish National Party and the Scottish Greens to govern the country.  


Under the Agreement, the Greens’ co-leader - Patrick Harvie - was Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights and led much of the Scottish Government’s agenda for rent controls.    

From April 1 last year the Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) (Scotland) Act 2022 meant that rent caps for private tenancies could only increase by 3% up until September 30 2023, with the choice to extend for an additional six-month period if necessary. Holyrood then voted for a final six month period to extend the regulations until March 31 this year. 

Harvie has so far refused to commit to a new coalition arrangement and has instead says he will work with the Scottish National Party on many issues, which means the future of a Housing Bill the Scottish Parliament introduced in March this year to allow local councils to enact rent controls if necessary, is in turmoil.  

Propertymark’s member surveys in Scotland between October 2022 and May 2023 about the impact of the Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) (Scotland) Act, which pointed to the devastating impact the law has had on the private rental sector. 

A full 100% per cent of agents say that they have witnessed more landlords looking to leave the private rented sector, while 97% of agents have witnessed an increase in the number of landlords serving notice to sell because of the Act. And in what Propertymark calls ”a disastrous blow for many tenants” the Act resulted in 100% of agents finding that landlords are now more willing to increase rents between tenancies due to the legislation.  

Now the professional body says it would like to see the Scottish Government review all costs and taxes impacting private landlords and significantly reduce the six per cent Additional Dwelling Supplement on purchases of buy to let property to increase the supply of homes to rent and incentivise landlords. Additionally, the long-term solution to address the lack of affordability in the private rented sector is to ensure that more social housing is built to reduce housing need. 

Timothy Douglas, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Propertymark, comments: “Propertymark congratulates John Swinney on his appointment as the new leader of the SNP and First Minister of Scotland. Tackling the housing emergency in Scotland must be front and centre of his leadership. Having previously held senior positions within the Scottish Government, Propertymark member agents will be looking to Mr Swinney to confront the challenges the housing market faces head on and work with the sector to ensure housing plays a positive role in building the economy, improving health and supporting job creation.”

  • icon

    Assar Lindbeck, a Swedish economist reportedly declared that rent control is “the best way to destroy a city, other than bombing.”

  • icon

    Rent control could be a good measure - if the government can ever see past any excuse to bash landlords. For example, why not make it regulation that rent goes up based on all costs to the landlord, and having a fixed percentage of profit we might otherwise call cashflow? This would end the kind hearted LL's who don't put up rent for 5 years - because it would happen automatically, and would limit profiteering by LL's trying to get market value for their properties where they don't meet market conditions!
    The banks already have stress tests, which have gone from 125% of the mortgage up to 140%, or what ever it is they decide right now. If the Gov' honoured the bank's wisdom, then it would set a limit for how low a rent can be (call that LHA rates) but should limit increases for existing tenants based on costs to the landlord, and to preserve what ever percentage is left over we call cashflow.
    This might limit the upper end, but would force the low end up! A lot of social housing LL's would be happy about that.

  • icon

    I'd love to have rent controls so long as we could also have mortgage interest controls, utility price control, food price controls from supermarkets, fuel controls to stop petrol/diesel going up etc. Level playing field for all.


Please login to comment

MovePal MovePal MovePal
sign up