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Scottish landlords and tenants are at loggerheads over rent controls, a public consultation on the Scottish government’s New Deal for Tenants proposals have found.

Nine in 10 landlords disagree with rent controls, thought the majority of tenants are in support.

A number of landlords said they were in the process of selling up and departing from the private rental sector thanks to the policy.

Scotland has capped rents since September 2022, preventing in-tenancy rent increases to 3% per year, thought this emergency legislation is set to expire on 1 April.

After that time tenants can still apply to the government’s Rent Service Scotland if they think that their landlord has put up rents by too much.

Landlords raised concerns that there could be a wave of evictions and rent increases between the period of emergency legislation ending and new rules coming in.

Scottish rents have soared since rent controls were introduced, as last month Zoopla said they’ve risen by an annual 11.1%. It’s likely landlords are accelerating increases on new tenancies, to compensate for being limited in how much they can put rents up within tenancies.

Scottish landlords have complained that if rents continue to be capped there is no incentive to invest and improve in their rental stock, as they cannot charge more for a better quality of housing.

They argued that they should be able to put the rent up by more if they go forward with significant upgrades.

The Scottish government acknowledged: “Respondents stated that since rent caps have been introduced, private rents in Scotland have risen faster than anywhere else in the UK; it was felt that the decision to pursue a policy of rent control fails to address the shortage of rental housing, and that this shortage is exacerbating rent inflation.

“Other less frequently raised concerns included that there will be very little incentive to improve properties if the rent cannot be significantly increased. There was also reference to stifling investment in new, better quality, more efficient rental housing and in renovating and decarbonising existing rental housing.

“In addition, it was argued that there has been no consultation on the type and nature of any controls, or any examination of the options available, and it was suggested that there is a dearth of information on how rent controls would work in practice.”

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