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Scotland to bring in long-term rent controls

The Scottish government has pledged to introduce rent controls and new tenant rights in a major new housing bill.

Scotland already has a form of rent controls, as the government introduced a rent freeze and eviction ban in September 2022, before capping in-tenancy rate increases at 3% until 31 March next year.

First Minister Humza Yousaf made the announcement, at the same time as pledging to invest £750 million in new affordable homes – 10% of which would be in rural and island communities.

He said: “Westminster’s cost-of-living crisis has left tenants vulnerable, made all the more difficult by a market that can’t support demand.

“The Scottish government will continue to work with vital stakeholders across landlord and tenant groups as it crafts a tailored approach to this crisis that suits Scotland’s unique needs.

“During the cost-of-living crisis, this government took prompt action to introduce emergency rent caps for most private tenants and to introduce additional protections against eviction.

“We’ve now laid legislation to ensure those measures will remain in place until 31st March next year.”

The Scottish government aims to build 110,000 affordable homes by 2032.

Yousaf committed £60m to acquire empty properties to be converted into affordable housing, while he told MSPs the Scottish government would also give councils the power to hike council taxes on second homes.

John Blackwood, chief executive of the Scottish Association of Landlords, said: “The biggest single issue for all parts of the housing sector in Scotland is lack of supply so the focus must be on investing in more social housing and encouraging investment in both the new build and private rented sector.

“Any proposal to introduce rent controls must be done in partnership with all parts of the housing sector along with tenant representatives to make sure the final proposals are balanced.

“This measure should also be viewed as something which addresses short-term concerns until the longer-term measures needed to address Scotland’s housing crisis are implemented and shown to be effective.”