Originally published: Morning Star Online on October 28, 2022 by Matt Trinder (more by Morning Star Online) | (Posted Nov 02, 2022)
EMERGENCY legislation protecting under-pressure tenants from rent increases and evictions as four-decade high inflation continues to rise became law in Scotland today.
The Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) Act allows ministers to temporarily freeze rent increases for private and social tenants and for student accommodation.
It applies to in-tenancy rent rises, with the cap set at 0 per cent from September 6 until at least the end of March next year.
The SNP administration can extend the temporary legislation—passed by MSPs earlier this month—for a further two six-month periods if it chooses.
The Bill prevents evictions over the same period, except in some specified circumstances, and damages for unlawful eviction have also 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.
Mr Harvie noted that landlords experiencing “extreme cost increases” have also been given limited protections.
For example, rents can be increased if property owners can prove their own costs have soared—provided the rise is less than 50 per cent of the existing rent.
“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,” the Glasgow region MSP recommended.