Tenant Protection Act becomes law
Emergency legislation giving tenants increased protection from rent increases and evictions during the cost of living crisis has become law after receiving Royal Assent.
The Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) Act gives Ministers temporary power to cap rent increases for private and social tenants, as well as for student accommodation.
This applies to in-tenancy rent increases, with the cap set at 0% from 6 September 2022 until at least 31 March 2023, effectively freezing rents for most tenants during this period.
Ministers have the power to vary the rent cap while it is in force, and the measures could be extended over two further six-month periods.
Enforcement of eviction actions resulting from the cost crisis are prevented over the same period except in a number of specified circumstances, and damages for unlawful evictions have been increased to a maximum of 36 months’ worth of rent.
Tenants’ rights minister Patrick Harvie said: “Many people who rent their homes are facing real difficulties as a result of the cost of living crisis. While bills are rising for all of us, many tenants are more exposed as they are more likely to be on low incomes or living in poverty than other people.
“These measures aim to give tenants greater confidence about their housing costs and the security of a stable home.
“Some landlords may be feeling the effects of this crisis too. So while the primary purpose is to protect tenants, the emergency measures also include safeguards for those landlords who may be impacted.
“For anyone struggling with their rent, I would urge you to contact your landlord, an advice organisation or a tenants’ union to get help as early as possible.”
Delivering a Programme for Government commitment, The Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) (Scotland) Act was approved by the Scottish Parliament on 6 October.
Housing associations have been voicing their concerns at each stage of the parliamentary process amid concerns the rent freeze will “jeopardise” affordable housebuilding and threaten their ability to improve and maintain existing homes and deliver vital support services to tenants.
Patrick Harvie MSP will appear on an upcoming episode of The Scottish Housing News Podcast. Jimmy Black and SHN editor Kieran Findlay will interview Mr Harvie on November 3rd and are providing an opportunity for the housing sector to put its questions to the minister here.