The Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) (Scotland) Bill 2022 was passed by the Scottish Parliament on 6 October 2022. It was introduced in response to the cost-of-living crisis in Scotland and applies retrospectively to any tenancies in place from 6 September 2022 onwards.
The Bill includes a temporary cap on rent increases, a temporary prohibition on the majority of evictions and an increase in damages that may be awarded against a landlord for unlawful eviction. The measures will be in place until at least 31 March 2023, but that period can be extended.
The temporary cap on rent increases is currently set at 0%. The Scottish Ministers may vary the cap if the Scottish Government agrees. There are some exceptions, but generally speaking, landlords may not increase the rent beyond the cap.
In addition to the rent freeze, there is a moratorium on evictions. The legislation does not prevent landlords serving an eviction notice or a notice of proceedings, but there will be a six month delay in enforcement except in certain circumstances, such as a tenant being in substantial arrears (which in the private sector means an amount equal to six months' rent), or anti-social or criminal behaviour.
This first appeared in Highland News, North Star and Strathspey and Badenoch Herald.