5. Stakeholder Engagement
5.1 A formal public consultation exercise on the draft extension regulations has not been undertaken. However, as part of the ongoing review of the continued necessity and proportionality of the Act and the formal duty to report to Parliament required under the Act, there has been ongoing stakeholder engagement and consultation on the status and operation of the provisions, consideration of any impacts arising from the Act and whether the provisions continue to be necessary and proportionate. The reporting regime would continue should the extension regulations be approved.
5.2 The first Report was laid before Parliament on 12 January 2023 and reports are due three-monthly thereafter within 14 days of the end of each reporting period, unless there has been a Statement of Reasons laid before Parliament during a reporting period. The Statement of Reasons published on 27 January removed the need for a report to be laid at the end of April (per section 9(8) of the Act). The next formal report was therefore due to be laid by 14 July 2023, but this 2nd Statement of Reasons would once again remove the need for that report. The requirement to keep the provisions under review remains ongoing and we will also continue to give consideration to the evidence available to us, with interim updates on the Act being provided as required.
5.3 As part of assessing the continued necessity and proportionality of these provisions we have engaged with those representing landlords, letting agents and tenants in both the private and social rented sectors as well as local authorities, the Scottish Housing Regulator and Lenders through the Private Rented Sector Stakeholder Group established in March 2023.
5.4 On 21 April, Scottish Ministers issued a 2nd formal call for written evidence to a wide range of rented sector stakeholder groups in respect of the private, social and student rented sectors representing a range of interests. In light of the changes to the Act which came into force on 1 April, the 2nd Call for Evidence sought the following views:
Private rented sector landlord (including mid-market rent providers) and investor representatives
1. As we approach the Act being in force for almost six months, what effect have the temporary measures had on your planning and/or business models?
2. Whilst the changes to the rent cap only recently came into force, what do you believe the impact of the rent cap increasing from 0% to 3% on private landlords will be?
3. Do you think the changes that came into force from 1 April will impact investment assessments in the private rental sector in Scotland?
4. Do you have evidence of behavioural changes as a direct result of the temporary measures currently in force?
5. Is there any other evidence (qualitative or quantitative) you can provide at this stage about the impact of the temporary measures, and/or the changes introduced as of 1 April?
Private rented sector tenant representatives
1. As we approach the Act being in force for almost six months, do you believe the provisions in the Act have helped to support private tenants?
2. Whilst the changes to the rent cap only recently came into force, what do you believe the impact of the rent cap increasing from 0% to 3% on private tenants will be?
3. Do you have evidence of tenant and/or landlord behavioural changes as a direct result of the changes to the temporary measures?
4. Are you aware of any evidence that tenants experience suggests that landlords not meeting the terms of the emergency requirements (seeking to increase rent above the cap, unlawful evictions etc)?
Social rented sector representatives, and student accommodation representatives
1. As we approach the Act being in force for almost six months, what do you believe is the impact of the temporary moratorium on the enforcement of eviction orders provisions?
2. Similarly, what do you believe is the impact of the temporary unlawful eviction provisions?
3. Do you have evidence of tenant and/or landlord behavioural changes as a direct result of the remaining temporary measures?
4. Please provide any further views and/or evidence in relation the remaining temporary measures here.
5.5 Given the temporary nature of the Act, the 2nd Call for Evidence also sought views from private rented sector representatives on how best to transition away from the emergency rent cap protections for the private rented sector when that time comes. This is in relation to the powers contained in Schedule 3 of the Act which allow for the modification of the basis on which rent will be determined in cases where a tenant has referred a rent increase notice to a rent officer under the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016. Responses to this particular part of the Call for Evidence have not been analysed as part of this Statement of Reasons, however they will help inform further policy development in this area.
5.6 A summary of responses to the call for evidence – along with a summary of wider stakeholder engagement - can be found in Annex B.
5.7 Section 3 of the Act requires that Scottish Ministers must take steps to ensure that tenants affected by the provisions of Part 1 receive appropriate information, advice and support. Annex C provides information on action taken to meet this statutory requirement.
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