Rent cap to be extended for up to six months.
Measures to protect tenants through the cost of living crisis, including the 3% rent cap and additional eviction protections, will be extended for a further period of up to six months following a vote by MSPs.
The Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) Act was introduced in October 2022 to protect tenants against the impacts of rising costs, then extended for six months from April 2023. The Scottish Parliament has now voted for a final extension, meaning the rent cap and eviction protections will be in place until March 2024 at the latest.
This will mean:
- Most in-tenancy private rent increases will continue to be capped at 3% for any 12-month period
- Alternatively, private landlords can apply for increases of up to 6% to help cover certain increases in costs in a specified time period where these costs can be evidenced
- Enforcement of evictions will continue to be paused for six months for most tenants, except in a number of specified circumstances
- Increased damages for unlawful evictions of up to 36 months’ worth of rent will continue to be applicable
Social rented sector tenants are protected by the voluntary agreement reached with social landlords on below-inflation rent increases for this financial year.
Draft regulations to extend the Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) Act for a final six months can be viewed here: The Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) (Scotland) Act 2022 (Amendment of Expiry Date) Regulations 2023 (legislation.gov.uk)
The evictions moratorium pauses enforcement of most eviction action for up to six months, except in a number of specified circumstances. The eviction protections apply to the private and social rented sectors, and purpose-built student accommodation and halls of residence.
There is a 3% cap on in tenancy rent increase for most private sector tenancies. Where a tenant has received a rent increase notice from their landlord, they can apply to Rent Service Scotland (RSS) to verify that the rent increase is within the permitted 3% rent cap rate.
Landlords can alternatively apply to Rent Service Scotland (RSS) to increase rent to partially cover specific costs including increased mortgage interest payments on the property they are letting, an increase in landlords’ insurance or increases in service charges paid as part of a tenancy, subject to an overall limit. This limit is currently set at 6% of total rent.