Scottish private rent costs soar in January ‘in anticipation of rent controls’

Almost half (44%) of Scottish private tenants saw their rent costs rise in January, a considerable contrast to the national average of 19%, according to new figures.

The statistics were revealed in an online survey among 361 ARLA Propertymark members, which was carried out by Opinium Research from February 1-8.

ARLA said the findings, which follow the introduction of the new Private Rented (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act on December 1, highlight a market reaction to indefinite tenancies and the potential for rent controls.

David Cox, chief executive, ARLA Propertymark, said: “Rent controls have a history of dramatically deteriorating property conditions as landlords struggle to meet mortgage payments in addition to maintenance costs. However, it seems the very idea of these controls – and open-ended tenancies – is now affecting rent prices for tenants; in anticipation, landlords are raising rents to make sure they can make ends meet, should they be introduced.

“It’s now been two full months since this form of new Private Residential Tenancy came into force in Scotland and while in December, just over a third (36%) of agents witnessed rent hikes, January’s results show a much larger swing. For the sake of the Scottish rental sector we hope this isn’t a growing trend, but while rent controls are on the agenda, it’s just a waiting game to gauge how the market reacts.”