The Scottish Government has pledged to introduce measures to enhance tenants’ rights and protections as well as long-term rent controls.
First Minister Humza Yousaf told MSPs he planned to introduce a new housing bill which would help to deliver its New Deal for Tenants as part of new housing policies aimed at tackling homelessness and the supply shortage.
Unveiling his Programme for Government, Yousaf said it would give councils the power to raise council taxes on second homes and committed £60 million to acquire empty properties to be converted into affordable housing. It would also invest £750 million in new affordable homes – 10% of which would be in rural and island communities.
“Westminster’s cost-of-living crisis has left tenants vulnerable, made all the more difficult by a market that can’t support demand,” said Yousaf.
Unique needs “The Scottish government will continue to work with vital stakeholders across landlord and tenant groups as it crafts a tailored approach to this crisis that suits Scotland’s unique needs.
“During the cost-of-living crisis, this government took prompt action to introduce emergency rent caps for most private tenants and to introduce additional protections against eviction,” he added. “We’ve now laid legislation to ensure those measures will remain in place until 31st March next year.”
The Scottish government reintroduced a rent freeze and eviction ban in September 2022 and those protections largely remain, with evictions paused and in-tenancy rent increases capped at 3%. However, a coalition of landlords and letting groups including the Scottish Association of Landlords has been seeking a judicial review of the legislation and is still awaiting a decision.
Chief executive John Blackwood tells LandlordZONE: “The biggest single issue for all parts of the housing sector in Scotland is the lack of supply, so the focus must be on investing in more social housing and encouraging investment from landlords in the private rented sector.
“Any proposal to introduce rent controls must be done in partnership with all key stakeholders and reassure those landlords contemplating leaving the sector.”
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