Rent Rises Are Being Capped In Scotland To Protect Tenants

Photographed by Matilda Hill-Jenkins
Rent increases in Scotland are to be capped at 3% in a further effort to protect tenants during the cost-of-living crisis.
In October, the Scottish government passed an emergency bill to freeze rents completely and ban evictions except in very limited circumstances.
The Scottish government has now announced that from 1st April, landlords will be permitted to raise rents again, but only to the tune of 3% (or 6% in "defined and limited circumstances" when they have costs to cover). The ban on evictions will remain in place.
Given that rents in the UK rose on average by 12% last year, the cap is well below the market rate.
The rent cap, which is subject to the approval of Scotland's parliament, will remain in place until 30th September. After that, it could be extended for another six months.
Scotland's Tenants' Rights Minister, Patrick Harvie, said of the new measures: "Our emergency legislation has helped protect tenants facing the cost-of-living crisis. With many households still struggling with bills, it is clear that these protections are still needed to give tenants greater confidence about their housing costs and the security of a stable home."
He added: "While the primary purpose of the legislation is to support tenants, I recognise that costs have been rising for landlords too. That’s why we intend to allow those in the private sector to increase rents by up to 3%, with a continued safeguard allowing them to apply for larger increases to cover specified rising costs they might be seeing as landlords."
However, the new rent cap doesn't apply to tenants in the social sector, where landlords will merely have to keep rent increases "well below inflation".
This discrepancy has been criticised by Scotland's tenants' union, Living Rent, which tweeted: "The Scottish government's announcement... that the rent freeze will no longer apply to social tenants shows that the rent freeze was never meant to apply to all. We need to organise and fight back to support all tenants during this cost of living crisis."
The rent cap continues to put Scotland in a very different position from the rest of the UK, where the private rental market remains in chaos. London's Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has repeatedly lobbied the Westminster government for the power to impose a rent freeze, but to no avail.