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Permanent rent control proposed in Scottish housing bill

  • 27/03/2024
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Permanent rent control proposed in Scottish housing bill
The Housing (Scotland) Bill has been introduced to the Scottish Parliament with suggestions to bring in long-term rent controls for private tenancies.

Three public consultations helped to inform the bill, which includes measures for a New Deal for Tenants, part of the Bute House agreement between the Scottish government and Scottish Green Party. 

This includes the right to keep pets, decorate rented homes and stronger protection against eviction. It could see local authorities carry out regular assessments of rent conditions to consider the level of rent and the rate of rent increases. Local authorities will also gain the power to seek information from private landlords, and failure to do so could result in a fine.

It also proposes help for people facing homelessness up to six months in advance, and provision for tenants experiencing domestic abuse. 

As part of the bill, social landlords and bodies such as the police and health boards will have an ‘ask and act’ duty to enquire about a person’s housing situation and act wherever possible to prevent them from becoming homeless. 

Last year, it was reported that over 24,000 families in England were threatened with homelessness in 2022 due to Section 21 notices.


A fairer rented sector

Housing minister Paul McLennan and tenants’ rights minister Patrick Harvie will lead the passage of the housing bill through Parliament. 

McLennan said: “Scotland already has the strongest rights in the UK for people who become homeless – but nobody should have to experience the trauma and disruption of losing their home. 

“Early action, through the kinds of measures included in the Housing Bill, results in fewer people reaching the point of housing crisis. It also means people facing homelessness have more choice and control over where they live, helping them to maintain relationships in their community and stay in work.” 

Harvie said: “A fairer, well-regulated rented sector is good for both tenants and landlords. Tenants benefit from improved conditions and security, while good, responsible landlords will thrive when their good practice is recognised by regulation. 

“Scotland has led the way across the UK in improving the experience of people who rent their homes, and this reform has been at the same time as significant growth in the size of the private rented sector, so progressive reform can lead to better conditions and a healthy rented sector overall. I want to keep working with both tenants and landlords to achieve that goal.” 

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