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News: Scottish parliament consults on introducing rent controls

Tue, 11 Jun 19

The Scottish government is consulting on introducing rent controls north of the border with a view to protecting private sector tenants from increasing rents.

A proposal for a Bill to protect private sector tenants by introducing measures to limit rent hikes and to increase the availability of information about rent levels has been introduced by Scottish Labour.

Proposed by Pauline McNeill MSP, the party said its Mary Barbour Bill will see the introduction of a new points-based system to enforce fair rents.

The main proposal is to cap rent at 1% above inflation, with provisions to allow ministers to adjust this index if interest rates were to suddenly increase.

Respondents are also being asked to consider whether the rent officer should be restricted to only decreasing or maintaining existing rent when tenants lodge an appeal as opposed to the existing practice of being able to increase rents.

The consultation also proposes that the rent being charged should be a mandatory disclosure to the landlord registration scheme and any changes should be updated.

Speaking at Scottish First Minister's Questions last week, Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said: “We have seen the return of private landlordism and rents have soared whilst wages have stagnated. “According to the Scottish Government’s own figures, over forty per cent of all children, living in the private rented sector are now living in poverty. That is 60,000 children.”

He added: “We think that private rent rises should be capped and controlled. So Nicola Sturgeon has a choice, will she take the side of rogue landlords and a broken housing market – or she can back Labour’s plans, and back our Mary Barbour Bill.”

The consultation will run until 6 August 2019.

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