Rent cap and evictions ban under spotlight as Sturgeon quits

The lettings sector in Scotland is waiting to see if the resignation of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will affect her rent and evictions policies.

Property industry experts are considering whether the decision of Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (main picture) to resign could change the policy on a rent cap and evictions ban.

It was Sturgeon who announced a rent freeze and ban on evictions in September, which were then included in the Cost of Living (Tenants) (Scotland) Bill 2022.

The Scottish Government later dropped the rent freeze proposal from April in a major U-turn, and changed it to a 3% rent cap for six months, with higher increases up to 6% allowed in exceptional cases.

Sturgeon left housing minister Patrick Harvie to reveal the climbdown, and he said the Government now accepted a rent freeze would hit landlords too hard.

“While the primary purpose of the legislation is to support tenants, I recognise that costs have been rising for landlords too,” he said.

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David Alexander, CEO, DJ Alexander Scotland,

David Alexander, CEO at DJ Alexander Scotland, says: “The unexpected resignation of Nicola Sturgeon as First Minister provides an opportunity for a change of approach on housing policy in Scotland.

Scottish leader

“I would hope that the next Scottish leader would adopt a more conciliatory, reasoned approach to the housing sector consulting widely to produce policy which reflects the reality of all parts of the market.

“There has too often been a confrontational approach to the private rented sector in Scotland, and this was part of the reasoning which produced the recent rent freeze and ban on evictions.

“I think the new leader of the SNP needs to understand that the private rented sector is an essential and integral part of the housing market and that this sector will be improved by working closely with those involved in investing, in letting, and in renting homes in Scotland.”

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Timothy Douglas, Head of Policy, Propertymark

Timothy Douglas, head of policy and campaigns at Propertymark, says that during Sturgeon’s eight years in power: “We’ve seen the introduction of letting agent regulation and registration, increased tax burdens on those wishing to buy property as a landlord or second homeowner, and more recently a continued desire from her administration to introduce damaging long-term rent control measures.

“A change of leadership can often lead to a shift in focus but on its own is unlikely to restore confidence among investors who ultimately can unlock increased supply for tenants and better-quality homes for all.”


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