The Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) (Scotland) Act Extended to March 2024

In light of the ongoing economic challenges, the Scottish Government has extended its restrictions concerning landlords and rent increases. Landlords are currently limited to a maximum of 3% increase in rent, which will now remain in place until the end of March 2024.

Updated Emergency Legislation

As a response to the cost-of-living crisis, the emergency act was implemented in October 2022 that not only barred rent escalations but also put evictions on hold, with some exceptional circumstances. Initially aimed at assisting tenants facing sudden financial strains, this act has now been extended to further protect tenant interests. This will be the final extension.

Changes to Rental Increase Permissions

While evictions remain on hold in the majority of scenarios, landlords are now permitted to introduce a rent increment of up to 3% within this restricted timeframe. However, only one increase is permissible within a 12-month span. Landlords must also give a minimum of three months’ notice for any proposed rent adjustments. The Scottish Government has issued a template letter and further guidelines on their website here.

Please note the rent rise cap does not apply to new tenancies.

Supporting landlords with escalating property expenses

The Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) (Scotland) Act predominantly aimed to shield tenants from skyrocketing living costs. However, the government has acknowledged the financial pressures on landlords too.

Landlords who’ve witnessed a considerable hike in property-related costs over the previous six months can reach out to Rent Service Scotland. They can request permission to raise the rent by more than the stipulated 3%, capped at 6%. The rise must be justifiable, with evidential proof of increased expenses. Landlords can recoup up to 50% of these heightened costs. Rent Service Scotland will notify tenants of any such changes, and landlords can challenge unfavourable decisions via a government tribunal.

Revised Guidelines on Tenant Evictions

For up to six months, evictions against private tenants, including students, will be deterred, with only a few exceptions. This approach mirrors the protocols set during the Covid-19 outbreak. While landlords can notify tenants that they wish to end the tenancy (and nearly all tenants leave at this point), any eviction procedures will be postponed. Exceptions might be considered in situations involving antisocial behaviour, significant rent defaults, or impending property sales.

For an in-depth understanding of these new guidelines, landlords can read more on the Scottish Government website.

Tailored Guidance for Edinburgh Landlords

If you are a landlord of an Edinburgh-based property and would like advice from a professional property manager on how to make letting your property become hassle-free, please schedule a call to discuss switching to Clan Gordon.

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