Following the Scottish Government’s freeze on landlords imposing rent increases, a cap has now been introduced restricting any rise to 3% until at least the end of September.
An emergency act was passed in October 2022 that prevented rent rises and paused evictions in response to the cost-of-living crisis. Rent increases were banned for existing tenancies and immediate action was only taken to evict tenants in a limited number of cases. The act was designed to protect tenants who found themselves in financial difficulty due to a change in circumstance.
Measures Amended To Allow Rent Increases
The emergency measures continue until 30 September 2023. However, while evictions are still prevented in most cases, landlords can now impose rent increases of up to 3%. Only one increase can be made in a 12-month period and the current limitations may be extended by a further six months from September.
Landlords must give tenants notice of at least three months for any increase. The Scottish Government provides a template letter on its website to ensure any rent rise is correctly administered.
Help To Protect Landlords Against Rising Property Costs
While the Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) (Scotland) Act was designed to protect tenants from the impact of huge rises in the cost of food and fuel, the Scottish Government recognises that landlords have also been affected.
Any landlord who has faced a significant rise in property costs over the past six months can apply to Rent Service Scotland for permission to increase rent by more than 3%, to a maximum of 6%.
The increased costs that will be considered are:
- A rise in interest payable in respect of any mortgage or standard security over the rental property
- any increased insurance premium payable by a landlord relating to offering the property for rent, such as landlords’ insurance, but not including buildings or property insurance
- any rise in service charges related to the rental property that are paid by the tenant via their rent as part of their rental contract
The landlord is able to recover up to 50% of the increased costs, but the rise must have occurred in the past six months and the landlord must be able to provide proof.
To protect tenants, any increase is limited to 6% of the existing rent even if this does not cover half of the landlord’s additional costs. Rent Service Scotland will advise the tenant of its decision to impose an increase, and the landlord can appeal against any decision to a government tribunal.
Rules on Tenant Evictions
Enforcement action against private tenants and students is prevented for up to six months, apart from a limited number of circumstances. The rules are similar to those introduced during the Covid-19 pandemic – landlords can serve notice on tenants but if they don’t leave any eviction action will be delayed.
Exceptions will be made in certain cases including antisocial behaviour, substantial rent arrears or where a property is to be sold.
Additional Advice for Edinburgh Landlords
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