2.1 The Act, which came into force on 28 October 2022, aims to:
- protect tenants by stabilising their housing costs through the introduction of a temporary, variable rent cap;
- where possible, during the cost crisis, reduce impacts on the health and wellbeing of tenants caused by being evicted and/or being made homeless by giving them more time to find alternative accommodation;
- seek to avoid tenants being evicted from the private sector by a landlord wanting to raise rents between tenancies during the temporary measures of a moratorium on evictions; and
- increase the level of damages that may be awarded where a landlord carries out an unlawful eviction.
2.2 The Act also contains powers to reform rent adjudication (Schedule 3) in connection with supporting a transition away from the emergency rent cap measures in the private rented sector.
2.3 Section 7 of the Act set out that Part 1 was due to expire on 31 March 2023, with the potential for extension for two periods of 6 months by secondary legislation, subject to the approval of the Scottish Parliament. Annex A provides further background on the emergency Act.
2.4 The Scottish Government has made clear it will retain and use the provisions in the Act only where they remain necessary and proportionate in connection with the cost of living. As a result, provisions in the Act must be expired or suspended if they are no longer considered necessary and proportionate – as demonstrated in the decision by Scottish Ministers earlier in the year to expire the rent cap provisions for the social sector and suspend the rent cap provisions for the student accommodation sector. The Scottish Government must keep Part 1 of the Act under review and prepare reports on their review which must be laid before Parliament.
2.5 The requirement to keep the provisions under review and report remains ongoing, and we will continue to give consideration to the evidence available to us.
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