Rent cap: private landlord guidance
Guidance for private landlords on the rent cap as it relates to cost of living emergency legislation.
Landlords’ application process for prescribed property costs
1. Where the decision from the Rent Officer or order of the First-tier Tribunal permits a rent increase the rent increase could not take effect before the expiry of the 3 month notice period. If the Rent Officer makes an order 14 days or more before the expiry of 3 month notice period then the rent will become payable on the 3 month date. If the order is made after the expiry of the 3 month notice period, then the new rent will be payable on the first payment date failing at least 14 days after the order.
2. Where there are two or more tenancies for the SAME property (ie. a shared property with two or more unrelated households), landlords should make separate applications for each tenancy. Landlords should list the increased 'prescribed property costs' attributed to each tenant, as per the basis in their tenancy agreement(s).
More details on how to split the costs are included in the application form. The form is available to download as a supporting document to this guide.
3. The landlord must provide evidence of an increase in any “prescribed property costs”, and this will need to be submitted alongside an application. To support landlords, an application form has been created, which could be used to apply to the Rent Officer. Whist it is not compulsory to use this application form, it is recommended that landlords do so, to make sure all of the required information is provided. Should a landlord not wish to use the application form, they are responsible for ensuring that all the relevant information contained in the application form is communicated clearly to the Rent Officer.
4. Where the rent cap is set at zero, an application to the Rent Officer to increase the rent payable under the tenancy can only relate to recovery of up to 50% of an increase in any prescribed property costs that the landlord has incurred during the 6 months before the application is made.
5. Where a Rent Officer determines that a landlord would be able to increase rent, this will be by the lower of: a maximum of 50% of the increase in prescribed property costs in the preceding six months or 3% of the existing rent.
6. A Rent Officer will decide the rent amount allowable for the prescribed costs and will aim to send their decision as soon as practicable after receiving complete information (whether this is on the application form or otherwise communicated to the Rent Officer) from the landlord. The landlord and tenant will be advised of the Rent Officer’s decision at the same time.
7. In order to reach a determination as soon as practicable, landlords will be asked to supply any missing information and/or documentation needed to complete their application. This information should be submitted as soon as possible upon request. Timely submission of information will allow the Rent Officer to determine whether any further information is still required. If the requested information is not supplied prior to the date when, if approved, the proposed new rent would take effect (‘effective date’), the Rent Officer will be unable to make a decision and the rent increase will be unable to take place. A new application with a new effective date and all supporting evidence will need to be supplied. A new notification with a new effective date will need to be given to the tenant.
8. If the Rent Officer’s decision is disputed there is a route of appeal for landlords and tenants to the First Tier Tribunal. The information supplied to Rent Officers at Rent Service Scotland will be processed for the purposes of considering an application for a rent increase due to Prescribed Property Costs whilst the Cost Of Living (Tenant Protection)(Scotland) Act 2022 is in force. This information will be held securely in the Rent Service Scotland ROCAS database and held in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018 and in line with the current retention policies. In the event of an appeal of the Rent Officer’s decision, this information will also be shared with the First Tier Tribunal (Housing & Property Chamber), so that they can determine the outcome of any appeal.
9. Where a landlord or tenant subsequently appeals the Rent Officer’s decision to the First-tier Tribunal, a landlord cannot ask the tenant to pay an increased rent until the Tribunal has made an order determining the rent payable under the tenancy.
More details on the work of the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber) can be found at: Home | Housing and Property Chamber.
Should your tenant have any queries, you may wish to direct them to www.mygov.scot/emergency-measures-private-tenants.
 The effective date would be upon the expiry of the 3 month notice period.
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