Scottish landlords launch legal action over rent cap

Scottish landlords launch legal action over rent cap

10:41 AM, 23rd January 2023, About A year ago 12

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Landlords and agents in Scotland are to seek a Judicial Review of the Scottish Government’s rent control and eviction ban legislation.

A coalition of the Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL); Scottish Land and Estates (SLE) and Propertymark is to submit a Petition to the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

They believe the law is ‘disproportionate and unfair’.

The move follows an announcement by the government last week to impose a 3% rent cap from April – and up to 6% under ‘special circumstances’.

‘Scottish Government eviction ban and rent freeze’

John Blackwood, chief executive of SAL, said: “So far, the result of the Scottish Government eviction ban and rent freeze has been just as concerning as we predicted.

“Landlords selling up loss making property is further reducing housing supply, despite ever increasing demand.

“The result is the cost of finding a new home is actually increasing for renters.”

He added: “While the Scottish Government sees fit to raise council and housing association tenants’ rents, so social landlords can do repairs and improvements, they fail to realise that private landlords are faced with similar financial pressures.

“The Ministerial statement makes it perfectly clear the government plans to continue with eviction ban and rent increase restrictions in the private rented sector beyond 31 March. Landlords have had enough.

“We must stand united to protect our property rights by challenging this unfair legislation in court.”

Provide a response before the petition is considered by the Court

The Scottish Government will be asked if they wish to provide a response before the petition is considered by the Court and the petition highlights:

  • The rent control applies irrespective of the financial position of both the tenant and landlord
  • The recent decision by the Scottish Government to remove the cap for social landlords means a well-off individual renting in the private sector is provided financial protection not available to someone in more challenging financial circumstances in the social sector
  • In the decision to remove the rent control in the social sector, the Scottish Government acknowledges the need for maintenance of these properties but has not given the same consideration to landlords in the private sector
  • The law does not make any distinction or provide relief based on different circumstances of landlords, between larger, institutional companies who might be able to shoulder increased costs, and individual landlords who cannot
  • The eviction ban creates a delay in addressing matters such as arrears which adversely impacts landlord cash flow culminating in a reduction in capital value.

The petition further argues that by discriminating in the way it does, the law breaches the European Convention of Human Rights which states ‘The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in the Convention shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as … association with … property.’

‘340,000 households are provided by the private rented sector’

Sarah-Jane Laing, the chief executive of Scottish Land and Estates, said: “Around 340,000 households, a seventh of all homes in Scotland, are provided by the private rented sector and it is vital that government enables a well-functioning system that balances the rights of both tenants and landlords.

“Regrettably, in recent times the Scottish Government has sought to unfairly penalise private landlords, such as SLE members who provide a vital supply of homes in our rural areas, many at below market rents.

“Farms, estates and other rural businesses have taken steps to support tenants, employees and other local businesses throughout Covid and the cost-of-living crisis.

“All we have asked for is a fair approach to allow landlords to reasonably increase rents thus enabling investment in properties and to be able take timely action when faced with significant rent arrears and other issues.”

‘Legislation is being made without any clear evidence’

Nathan Emerson, the chief executive of Propertymark, said: “The legislation is being made without any clear evidence as to its need.

“However, the immediate effects are clear to those on the coal face of the problem, as a direct result of the Scottish Government’s initial decision to cap rents at zero, 68% of Scottish letting agents report an increase in notices to sell from landlords.

“Private landlords provide homes on a huge scale for people, and they must be able to cover the costs of outgoings on the property.

“Repairs and maintenance costs are not solely applicable for social landlords and it’s essential for landlords to be able to keep properties to a high standard in the interests of their tenants.”

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Elouise Connolly

11:27 AM, 23rd January 2023, About A year ago

They are quicky realising that the rent increase bans are having a disastrous effect, opposite to what they hoped would happen. If only they could see that if they make buy to let attractive, then there will be more supply and rents won't keep skyrocketing! It's a delicate ecosystem and they've come in with a sledge hammer ruining it for everyone. This UK wide anti -landlord sentimentality has to end! Good for them for taking it to court.

Keith Stead

11:53 AM, 23rd January 2023, About A year ago

Being a landlord is a business like any other, and costs increase as for all businesses.
When will the Scottish government apply parity and impose the exact same restrictions on other businesses- let’s see them impose a price freeze for co-op, Tesco, Sainsbury’s? power companies? fuel suppliers? etc…..


12:15 PM, 23rd January 2023, About A year ago

The Scottish Nationalist have always been about easy options without understanding the consequences, they are all 5th rate politicians who have never had a real job but have come up through the Cooncils, pals network.
What have the greens to do with rents or tenancy agreements are they not for the environmental issues.
Hope they see sense , for the tenants sake who now have less choice if any on where to rent, i always explainto my tenants why the rent was going up and who was to blame ,hopefullythis will have some effectwhen it comes to the elections ,in 35 years of being a landlord not once did I evict anyone or had bad dealing with any of my tenants .
This is what has been now lost in the Scottish PRS ,a lot ot good hard working fair landlords , WELL Done Sturgeon and Harvie, a couple of miserable stupid clowns .


12:37 PM, 23rd January 2023, About A year ago

Surely the courts will rule in favour of the landlords in this clear case of discrimination between social and private landlords. The question is, how long will it take and how do private landlords get compensated for the losses to date?
Aberdeen is a special case where rents have reduced by 30% over the past 5 years unlike most major cities where rents have increased substantially. Can you imagine the damage that the Scottish Government is inflicting on Aberdeen landlords with their misplaced vendetta against landlords? I have held out as long as I can but now plan to sell all 24 of my rental properties as soon as I can as I am now running this BUSINESS at a loss - also due to the discriminatory change in tax treatment of rental income by the UK government . The private rental sector is being systematically destroyed and who is going to clean up the mess?


13:27 PM, 23rd January 2023, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by IanF at 23/01/2023 - 12:37
Totally agreed.....I hope the wave of Sturgon will also clean away with dishonest politician and make the Tenants and the Shelter realise who are really the bad guys are.. We need a UK wide PROFESSIONAL BODY WITH LEGAL MUSCLE TO PUNCH BACK AND LEAVE SCARE ON THEIR FACES.


13:42 PM, 23rd January 2023, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by C CA at 23/01/2023 - 13:27
We do it’s called the NRLA it has 100,000 members and it’s about as effective as throwing eggs at a tank.

Where is the support from the NLRA for the Scottish private housing providers now being so roundly abused?


13:56 PM, 23rd January 2023, About A year ago

WE await your response.
Where is your support, otherwise what good are you ?
What is your purpose?


13:58 PM, 23rd January 2023, About A year ago

While NRLA may do some good training and statistical surveys.... NRLA "charity organisational and diplomatic" soft approach IS MUSIC TO THE ATTACKS OF THE LAW MAKING against LLs.


Bristol Landlord

18:12 PM, 23rd January 2023, About A year ago

If Ben Beadle and the NRLA had any backbone at all they would be calling out the Govt over their obvious persecution, harassment and unfair practices against UK landlords.

The NRLA needs to call for a Judicial Review on behalf of ALL landlords whichever side of the border they live.
I personally believe the NRLA is not doing anything that it needs to do to fight for the rights of landlords.
I don’t need more training courses, I need them to hire a Barrister to review the Govts appalling treatment of Landlords and decide on the best course of legal action against this useless, lazy, lying and corrupt Govt we have.


20:21 PM, 23rd January 2023, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Bristol Landlord at 23/01/2023 - 18:12
Fully agreed, LLs are being attacked from all side, treated like criminal while we are on our knee asking for forgiveness.... "our professional representative" is trying hard to PERSUADE US THAT DESPITE OF ALL THE ATTACKS BEING LL is still GOOD.....MAYBE FOR THEM..

An Association of Professional LLs MUST BE LED BY LLs... not hiring an academic phd, to tell us how to follow the graph indicators of the long term social changes we can find or buy those info plentiful available.

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