Rent Control legislation doesn’t go far enough, claims tenants’ group

9 December 2020 | Renting

Rent Control legislation doesn’t go far enough, claims tenants' group

A renters’ union in Scotland claims a proposal to cap rents in the country doesn’t go far enough.

The Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Communities Committee has launched a consultation process on its Fair Rents (Scotland) Bill, which proposes to impose caps on annual rent rises for private tenancies to no more than the rate of the UK-wide Consumer Price Index plus one per cent. 

In addition it wants to give private tenants the right to ask for a “fair open market rent” and it offers tenants an option to appeal any rent increases with the First-Tier Tribunal or Rent Officer – which in turn would have the power only to agree or lower the proposed rent rise, not to increase it. 

The measure also requires private landlords to submit detailed information on a landlord register about the rent they charge and the property they let.

Now a tenants’ group called Living Rent says it welcomes the proposals but wants them to go further. 

In particular it wants local authorities in Scotland to lower the limit on rents in their respective areas. 

Gordon Maloney, on behalf of the group, says: “It is clear that rents in Scotland are utterly out of control, and we desperately need measures to limit them. After the failure of the Scottish Government’s Rent Pressure Zones, this bill is an important step towards ensuring tenants have somewhere safe, secure and affordable to live.

“But the devil is in the detail. New measures must ensure genuine affordability for tenants and not create loopholes for landlords to exploit, such as lifting the cap on rent increases in between tenancies.”

Separately, ARLA Propertymark says with the next Scottish parliamentary elections due in the spring, and considering the ongoing impact of the pandemic, it is possible that the Bill will fall before the poll. 

However, the Local Government and Communities Committee says it will consider its next steps, and the consultation responses, early in 2021.

This post has originally been featured in Letting Agent Today.