Private Rented Sector Stakeholder Engagement Group minutes: January 2024

Minutes from the meeting of the Private Rented Sector Stakeholder Engagement Group on 11 January, 2024.

Attendees and apologies


  • Anna Gardiner (SLE)
  • Aoife Deery (CAS)
  • Caroline Elgar (SAL)
  • Callum Chomczuk (CIH)
  • David Melhuish (SPF)
  • Emma Saunders (Living Rent)
  • Gordon Maloney (Living Rent)
  • Rhiannon Sims (Crisis Scotland)
  • Ronnell Reffell (UK Finance)
  • Timothy Douglas (Propertymark)
  • Scottish Government officials

Items and actions


The Chair welcomed attendees to the meeting of the PRS Stakeholder Engagement Group.

Actions and minutes from previous meeting

Minutes from the previous meeting were issued prior to this meeting and were agreed.

Members were updated on progress with the analysis of the Stakeholder Engagement Questionnaire; the Scottish Government hopes to receive this within the next week and aims to publish as soon as possible.

A question was asked about progress with consideration of future data collection, and this will be considered as an agenda item for the next meeting of the Group.

Consultation on supporting a transition away from the Cost of Living emergency measures

An update was given on the process for the end of the emergency measures:

The emergency measures were extended for a final time until the end of March 2024, and there can be no further extension after this.

Preparations are underway on the 3 sets of regulations to cover the transition out of the emergency measures, which must by laid by the end of January 2024. Two sets will be subject to affirmative procedure (the extension of the part of the Act that allows for changes to be made to the rent adjudication process and the regulations making those changes) and one to negative procedure (the transitional measures to clarify how any applications etc in progress will be handled).

The next statutory report on the operation of the Cost of Living Act will be laid by the end of the week.

The consultation on the proposed amendments to rent adjudication measures has been extended until 15 January, and approximately 20 responses had been received to date.

Members were invited to raise any further queries or concerns about the proposals:

  • Will rent officers visit properties to assess rents, and is this likely to impact on rent officer resourcing? What happens if rent adjudication decisions are delayed?

Section 32 of the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016 sets out how rent is determined under rent adjudication. Before the emergency measures, rent officers did visit a majority of properties when making a determination on rent adjudication, although there is no requirement in the legislation for every property to be visited. Rent officers will also look at other evidence when determining rents, but the intention is still to visit a percentage of properties.

Resourcing for rent adjudication is being considered. The proposed amendments would make changes to the comparators, but the process would remain the same.

Whilst rent officers aim to issue rent decisions early enough to allow rent increases to take place in line with the date when the rent increase was original due to take effect, Section 31 of the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016 sets out how rent increases are to be handled on any occasions where the effective date of the rent officer's decision is later than this date.

  • Could the proposed amendments to rent adjudication be extended once the initial twelve months has passed?

It is possible under the legislation for the Scottish Ministers to seek an extension to the amendment powers of up to twelve months, and this can be done more than once if it is necessary. This would require a statement of reasons to be laid before the Scottish Parliament, and affirmative regulations to be approved by Parliament.

However, the measures in the legislation are exercisable to support the transition out of the emergency rent cap and to avoid a ‘cliff edge’ of high rent increases for tenants.

  • 21 days is a short period to allow tenants to refer a rent increase notice for adjudication.

The powers available to Scottish Ministers in the Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) (Scotland) Act 2022 to temporarily amend rent adjudication only allow for particular changes to be made. For this reason, the proposed amendments are only being made to the comparators used for rent adjudication.

  • Concern that landlords and tenants may experience difficulties with the complexity of the proposed amendments to rent adjudication.

The Scottish Government appreciates that the proposals have a degree of complexity, and are working on how best to support landlords and tenants.

Consideration is being given to a tool which could be used to support landlords and tenants to review what the likely outcome of an adjudication case might be. This would be based on landlords and tenants entering their own estimate of what the market rent for the property would be as part of the calculation. This would be for informational purposes for landlords and tenants only, as ultimately, the assessment of market rent in any adjudication case will sit with rent officers or the First-tier Tribunal.

  • Members are aware of rent increase notices now being issued for rent increases above the 3% cap for increases dated after the end of March 2024, and there is concern that the situation is not clear with respect to these notices.

Rent notices issued while the cap remains in place need to comply with the 3% rent cap.

The Scottish Government is working to issue further information to ensure that this is clear, and would welcome Group members’ support with ensuring that this information is disseminated.

The consultation on the proposed amendments to rent adjudication measures will remain open until 15 January, and Group members are encouraged to submit a response if they have not already done so. 

Any other business

Transitional saving regulations

An update was given on preparations for the transition out of the eviction moratorium:

Transitional saving regulations will be laid to enable the Tribunal to continue to consider eviction cases using eviction grounds under the Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) (Scotland) Act 2022 without requiring further notices to be served.

The moratorium on evictions will end for all eviction cases at the point when the emergency legislation expires.

The Scottish Government is working with the First-tier Tribunal on how to communication the effect of this to landlords and tenants who may be affected by the change.

The Scottish Government is working on preparing information for the sector on this, which will be circulated as soon as possible. Input from Group members on any questions which could be answered as part of this information would be very welcome.

Upcoming Housing Bill

Work continues towards the upcoming Housing Bill, which will be introduced in Parliament before the end of this parliamentary year.

The Scottish Government remains happy to meet individually with organisations if they wish to have further discussions concerning the matters proposed for inclusion in the Bill.

There continues to be strong interest in the Bill. In the interests of transparency, the Scottish Government is seeking to pro-actively publish the agreed minutes of previous (and future) meetings of the PRS Stakeholder Engagement Group on the Scottish Government website. A number of members indicated during the meeting that they would be happy to support publication.


  • an update on future data collection to be considered as an agenda item for the next meeting of the Group
  • group members are invited to submit any questions on the effect of the expiry of the eviction moratorium which could helpfully be answered in information to be circulated to the sector
  • group members are invited to submit any further comment concerning the pro-active publication of meeting minutes by email
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