Scottish emergency legislation for rent freeze passed

Scottish emergency legislation for rent freeze passed

11:03 AM, 7th October 2022, About 2 years ago 1

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A controversial law to bring in a rent freeze and a ban on evictions in Scotland until March next year has been passed.

The Scottish government refers to the temporary new law as a ‘tenant protection bill’ and it will now see tenants being protected from rent rises and evictions during the cost-of-living crisis.

The Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) Bill gives Ministers the power to cap rents for private and social tenants, as well as for student accommodation. The Bill also introduces a moratorium on evictions.

However, Propertymark and the Scottish Association of Landlords have said they are considering legal action and Tom Mundy, the chief operating officer at Goodlord, said: “The rushing through of this rental freeze will have long-term consequences.

“We are seriously concerned that the Scottish Government hasn’t taken the time to fully consider the impact of this decision, with this legislation likely to continue pushing landlords out of the market at a time when rental housing stock is low and tenant demand is growing rapidly.”

‘Most landlords have just one or two properties’

He added: “Most landlords have just one or two properties and many are now facing rising mortgage rates and inflationary pressures.

“A rental freeze will be the final straw and drive a huge number out of the sector for good.

“This is a time of acute pressure for the market and action does need to be taken to protect tenants and landlords during such a difficult time. But freezing rents isn’t the answer.

“Instead, it risks creating the perfect storm.”

The cap has been set at 0%

The cap, which applies to in-tenancy rent increases, has initially been set at 0% from 6 September 2022 until at least 31 March 2023.

Ministers have the power to vary the rent cap while it is in force – and the measures can be extended over two further six-month periods.

Enforcement of eviction actions resulting from the cost crisis are prevented over the same period except in several specified circumstances

Damages for unlawful evictions have been increased to a maximum of 36 months’ worth of rent.

Safeguards for landlords

The temporary legislation balances the protections that are needed for tenants with some safeguards for those landlords who may also be impacted by the cost crisis.

Tenants’ Rights Minister, Patrick Harvie, said: “I am pleased that Parliament has passed this Bill to support tenants through the current cost of living crisis.

“People who rent their home are more likely to live in poverty or be on low incomes than other people, and many will be anxious about keeping up payments on their homes as their everyday expenses rise.”

He added: “With this Bill now set to become law, tenants in the social or private rented sector, or in student accommodation, will have stability in their homes and housing costs.

“I’m hugely grateful to MSPs for scrutinising and agreeing this legislation this week, ensuring these protections can be brought in with the urgency that this crisis demands.”

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Jireh Homes

16:21 PM, 7th October 2022, About 2 years ago

Safeguards for Landlords to seek eviction are weak, as very little protection where tenants choose not to pay rent, and we have yet to see definition of "significant" arrears". And no balance with impact of "cost of living" on landlords.

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