Minister confirms intention to keep rent cap in place for a final six months.
Emergency measures to protect tenants during the cost of living crisis, including the private rent cap and additional eviction protections, will be extended for a further six months if approved by Parliament.
Tenants’ Rights Minister Patrick Harvie has confirmed proposals to keep the Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) Act measures in place until 31 March 2024 at the latest. This would mean:
- Most in-tenancy private rent increases would continue to be capped at 3%
- Alternatively, private landlords could apply for increases of up to 6% to help cover certain increases in costs in a specified time period where these costs can be evidenced
- Enforcement of evictions would continue to be paused for six months for most tenants, except in a number of specified circumstances
- Increased damages for unlawful evictions of up to 36 months’ worth of rent would continue to be applicable
Social rented sector tenants are protected by the voluntary agreement reached with social landlords on below-inflation rent increases for this financial year.
Mr Harvie said:
“As the cost of living crisis continues, these measures are giving important support to tenants, providing them with much-needed stability in their housing costs and additional eviction protections.
“As the social housing sector have agreed their rents in consultation with their tenants, the focus of this temporary legislation is on providing private renters with similar protection. We know some landlords are impacted by rising costs too. The option of increasing rents by 6% in specified circumstances ensures landlords who may be impacted by the cost of living crisis can recover some increased costs associated with their let property.
“The final date of 31 March 2024 would be as long as the rent cap and eviction protections could run if approved by Parliament. The necessity of these measures is being kept under review and we will continue to assess whether they remain justified, balanced and proportionate based on the financial pressures rented households and landlords are facing.
“We are also looking at how to transition out of the emergency measures, and we continue to listen to and work hard with stakeholders to develop and deliver rental sector reform.”
The Minister for Tenants’ Rights Patrick Harvie has this afternoon, set out to Parliament the Scottish Government’s proposals to extend the Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) Act 2022 beyond 30 September.
Regulations to extend the Act have now been laid and can be viewed here.
The Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) (Act) was introduced in October 2022 to protect tenants against the impact of rising household costs. In March 2023, the Scottish Parliament voted to extend the measures to 30 September, with the option to extend again for a final six-month period to 31 March 2024.
The evictions moratorium pauses enforcement of most eviction action for up to six months, except in a number of specified circumstances. The eviction protections apply to the private and social rented sectors, and purpose-built student accommodation and halls of residence.
There is a 3% cap on in tenancy rent increase for most private sector tenancies. Where a tenant has received a rent increase notice from their landlord, they can apply to Rent Service Scotland (RSS) to verify that the rent increase is within the permitted 3% rent cap rate.
Landlords can alternatively apply to Rent Service Scotland (RSS) to increase rent to partially cover specific costs including increased mortgage interest payments on the property they are letting, an increase in landlords’ insurance or increases in service charges paid as part of a tenancy, subject to an overall limit. This limit is currently set at 6% of total rent.
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