The Scottish Government has confirmed that it has presented legislation to the Scottish Parliament that is looking to increase the amount of protection that tenants get from potential rent rises, as well as eviction action, during the current cost of living crisis.
The Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) (Scotland) Bill would see Ministers given the temporary power to cap rents for both private and social tenancies, with the cap set at 0% until at least 31st March 2023. This would effectively freeze rents, whilst the bill also includes further power to maintain or vary the rent cap over another two six-month periods.
Patrick Harvie, Tenants’ Rights Minister, said:
The cost of living crisis is an emergency situation demanding an emergency response. Even as energy, food bills and other day-to-day basics become more expensive, today’s legislation freezing rents and protecting tenants from eviction will give tenants stability in their homes and confidence about their housing costs.
“People who rent their homes ae more likely to live in poverty or be on low incomes than homeowners. As such they are particularly exposed to rising prices, and it is imperative that we bring in support for them urgently.
“We know that many landlords have been doing what they can to protect their tenants, but some tenants are being hit with large rent increases that are hard to justify. This legislation aims to protect all tenants from substantial increases, balancing the protections that are urgently needed for tenants with safeguards for those landlords who may also be impacted by the cost crisis.”
The protection from evictions will see the damages for unlawful evictions increased to a maximum of 36 months’ worth of rent, whilst also preventing enforcement of eviction actions that come about due to the cost of living crisis.
It is also worth noting that this legislation will also apply to students who are living in college or university halls of residence or other forms off purpose-built accommodation.