United Kingdom

Scottish industry’s opposition to rent controls revealed

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The Scottish government has published the results of its public consultation into the private rented sector – revealing the scale of opposition to rent controls.

Around 3 in 5 of those who responded to the consultation brought up the topic of rent controls, and of those, 90% were against them. Respondents said that rent controls were causing landlords to leave the sector, reducing rental supply, and also argued that rents rose faster in Scotland than anywhere else in the UK despite the rent freeze.

Respondents – including PayProp – also pointed out that the consultation questions were too narrow.

Finding a way forward

Criticism from landlords and letting agents might not be enough to stop long-term rent control in Scotland. Industry groups have been against rent caps since they were first introduced in 2022, but haven’t managed to get them overturned.

In the absence of alternatives, survey respondents also suggested ways to reduce the negative consequences of rent controls. These included:

  • Setting an appropriate rental baseline in the legislation on which to base future rental increases
  • Ensuring that politicians have accurate rental data to track the impact of rent controls
  • Allowing landlords to set above-cap rent increases when they have made significant improvements to a property

Some of the other proposals in the consultation were received more positively by respondents, including allowing tenants to leave a joint tenancy more easily and giving tenants more flexibility to personalise their homes – although tenants can already ask their landlords for permission.

Housing providers will soon find out what the future holds for rent control in Scotland. The current rent increase cap runs out on 31 March, and activists report that some tenants have been handed large rent increases in advance of 1 April. The government has proposed a transitional system for limiting rent increases, but hasn’t yet passed it – meaning landlords and tenants are still in the dark about what their rents will be next month.

Other national headlines

Summit sees sector leaders confront Scotland’s housing emergency – Scottish Housing News

Warning to Labour leader – no rent controls, yes to lower taxes – Letting Agent Today

Property chiefs deliver key demands to NI’s restarted Executive – The Negotiator

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