The Scottish government has opened a consultation into its wide-ranging – and controversial – rental reform plans.
Under the proposed new rules, rents would be controlled by Ministers on an area-by-area basis, in consultation with local authorities and landlord and tenant representatives. Rent controls would be introduced for a fixed time period and subject to mandatory reassessment, and would apply to new tenancies as well as within tenancies.
The government could also allow landlords to apply for above-cap rent increases to pay for certain types of renovation. Under the current rent increase caps, landlords can only apply for larger increases to partially cover their increased costs, such as mortgage interest.
Not just rent control
Scotland’s proposed New Deal for Tenants would also reform several other parts of the landlord-tenant relationship. Joint tenants would be given more flexibility to leave without ending the tenancy for all parties. Tribunals and courts would be able to delay the enforcement of eviction orders to reduce the negative impact on tenants, for example if they were evicted during winter. Tenants would also have more rights to personalise their homes (for example, hanging pictures without landlord consent, and preventing the landlord from unreasonably refusing requests to repaint) and to keep pets.
How can lettings professionals help shape the new law?
The proposed laws have dismayed many in the property industry. Scotland’s existing rent controls have reduced housebuilding. They have also failed to restrain rents: rents in Scotland rose by 12.7% in the year to July as landlords made up for in-tenancy rent control by setting higher rents for new tenants. While the proposed system of rent controls would prevent this, it could also cause more damage to landlords.
Letting agents can raise their concerns by responding to the government’s questionnaire. However, there are some significant oversights in this: the form doesn’t leave room for property professionals to make their own suggestions. Those who want to make more detailed responses may have to write to their MSPs or respond by e-mail to email@example.com.
Other home nation headlines
Build To Rent may be exempt from rent controls – Shock proposal – Landlord Today
Industry body calls for housing court in Wales – Property118
NIHE starts on more than 1,500 social homes in the north – Inside Housing