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Rent cap and eviction ban extended for private tenancies in Scotland

The Scottish government has confirmed plans to retain the eviction ban and the cap on rent increases for the private rented sector.

Tenants’ rights minister Patrick Harvie announced that the government would bring forward regulations to extend the private rental provisions in the Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) (Scotland) Act 2022 for a further six months to 30 September 2023. The eviction ban and cap on rent increases were first introduced in October last year to help private tenants with the cost-of-living crisis.

The move comes as the Scottish government announced that it would no longer enforce the rent cap for the social housing sector from 26 February, allowing landlords to raise rents from the end of March. Ministers will also suspend the rent cap for purpose-built student accommodation, since new tenancies for the 2023-24 academic year will not be covered by existing legislation. The ban on evictions will continue across all rental sectors.

Harvie noted that: "while the primary purpose of the legislation is to support tenants, I recognise that costs have been rising for landlords too”. But in a change to the current cap, the minister confirmed that the Scottish government would allow within-tenancy private rent increases of up to 3%.

“Landlords will continue to be able to apply for an additional rent increase based on prescribed property costs and the maximum increase on this basis will be raised to 6% of overall rent in these specific and limited circumstances, in effect preserving the existing landlord safeguard,” Harvie said. He also revealed that the Scottish government intends to introduce a new Housing Bill, which is expected to include long-term rent control measures, “as soon as possible after the 2023 summer recess”.

Martin Devine of Pinsent Masons said: “The extension to a 3% cap by the Scottish government is a positive step and will help restore some of the investor confidence lost in Scotland as a result of recent uncertainty. Going forward we hope to see the Scottish government work constructively with all stakeholders in the private rented sector to ensure the proposed Housing Bill does not make Scotland a less attractive place to invest or act as a barrier to the supply of new homes being built in Scotland."

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