Economists consulted on rent controls: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Information requested

  1. “Were any economists consulted on the Scottish Government’s “New deal for tenants - rented sector reform proposals” consultation document?”
  2. “If so, which economists were so consulted?”
  3. “In particular, were any economists consulted on the proposals on rent control, framed in the media as “closing the rent control loophole”?”
  4. “If so, which economists were so consulted?”


Questions 1 & 2

Scottish Government analysts, including economists, provided advice on the phrasing of wording and questions used in the Landlord and tenant engagement questionnaire on rented sector reform, which opened on 29 September 2023. Economists and other expert groups/individuals were of course welcome to respond to that public consultation. Furthermore, there was engagement with the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE) in terms of the international evidence relating to rent controls. Professor Kenneth Gibb (University of Glasgow) and Professor Alex March (University of Bristol) presented emerging findings from their review of the international evidence at a meeting with the Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights on 4th November 2021.

Two papers summarising this work were later published on the CaCHE website and form part of wider evidence base for the development of rent control proposals. These papers (“Rent control: principles, practicalities and international experience” and Rent Control: A review of the evidence base) draw on the economic and social science literature, with the latter report, co-authored with Dr Adriana Mihaela Soatia (University of Glasgow), summarising the findings from 82 recent papers on international rent controls, with publications by economists forming a significant share of the literature reviewed.

Questions 3 & 4

The media article referred to as a part of Question 3 appears to conflate emergency provisions under the Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) (Scotland) Act 2022 with the proposal for longer-term rent control contained in the Landlord and tenant engagement questionnaire on rented sector reform.

In so far as the question relates to the questionnaire, the answer is as set out above in our response to Questions 1 & 2. In so far as it relates to the Act itself, the Act was accompanied by a range of assessments, including a Financial Memorandum, Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment and Economic Background paper. The analysis in these papers was regularly updated through reports to the Scottish Parliament and the Statement of Reasons which accompanied the two extensions to the regulations

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