27 Jan 2023

Court action launched over Scotland’s rent cap and eviction ban

Court action launched over Scotland’s rent cap and eviction ban

Letting industry representatives Propertymark, Scottish Association of Landlords and Scottish Land & Estates have collaborated to submit a Petition to the Court of Session in Edinburgh seeking a Judicial Review of the Scottish Government's rent cap and eviction ban legislation

In a move which has been welcomed by many across the Private Rented Sector the Scottish Government has announced emergency measures to raise the cap on rents to 3% from 1 April this year, with private landlords being allowed to apply for increases of up to 6% to a to help cover costs.

Up until now, there had been a cap on rents at 0% which will be in place until 31 March with tenants rights’ minister Patrick Harvie saying the new temporary measures are intended to be extended to 30 September, provided they remain necessary.

The rent cap for student accommodation will be suspended, a recognition of its limited impact on annual rents set on the basis of an academic year.

However, despite the move to allow an increase in rents, critically the enforcement of evictions will continue to be prevented for all tenants except in a number of specified circumstances.

Whilst the decision by the Scottish Government to increase the cap is a sign that they recognise some of the issues which have arisen, industry body Propertymark has, alongside the Scottish Association of Landlords and Scottish Land and Estates, submitted a Petition to the Court of Session seeking a Judicial Review of the Scottish Government’s rent cap and eviction ban legislation.

In the petition, the three groups say that they believe that the law is disproportionate and unfair.

Specifical the petition highlights:

  • The rent cap applies irrespective of the financial position of both the tenant and landlord. This means tenants who are not financial vulnerable could avoid a rent increase irres[etive of the landlords financial position.
  • The decision by the Scottish Government to remove the cap on social landlords means a well-off individual renting in the private sector is provided financial protection not available to someone more vulnerable in the social sector.
  • The decision to remove the rent cap in the social sector suggest the Scottish Government recognises the need for maintenance of properties but has not given the same consideration to landlords in the PRS.
  • The law mak4s no distinction between or provides relief based on the different circumstances of landlords, between larger, institutional companies and individual landlords.
  • The eviction ban creates a delay in addressing matters such as arrears which adversely impacts landlord cashflow, culminating in a reduction in capital value.

Commenting on the moves by the government and the court action, Adrian Sangster, Leasing Director, Aberdein Considine said:

“The announcement by Patrick Harvie to extend the eviction ban for a further 6 months is a sad indictment of the Scottish Government’s approach to private landlords in Scotland.

There are exceptions, however the criteria to meet these are unfair, such as the requirement rent must be at least 6 months arrears before an eviction will be granted.  The amendment to the rent cap which allows increases of 3% to be applied is a reasonable amendment, and is welcomed.

I welcome the news that Propertymark, Scottish Association of Landlords together with Scottish Land & Estates have taken this unprecedented step.

The lack of housing in the private rented sector is at critical levels and I hope this action succeeds with its aim to change the direction of Scottish Government housing policy, to a fairer and more balanced system for both tenants and landlords, both of whom are suffering as a result of current legislation.

Please correct the errors below before submitting your request:

Get in touch

Our dedicated client contact team prefer to receive enquiries through our contact form. We'll endeavour to get back to you within 24 hours or during the course of the next working day.

Tick this box if you wish to receive news and offers from Aberdein Considine. By doing, you indicate your consent to receiving targeted email marketing messages from us. On each occasion that we contact you in the future, you will be given the option to opt-out from receiving such messages. You may also email marketing@acandco.com at any time to opt-out.

The personal information that you provide to us in this form will only ever be used by Aberdein Considine (as the Data Controller) for the following specifically defined purposes:

  • email you content that you have requested from us
  • with your consent, occasionally email you with targeted information regarding our service offerings
  • continually honour any opt-out request you submit in the future
  • comply with any of our legal and/or regulatory obligations