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Fair Rents (Scotland) Bill no longer proceeding

Friday 03 July 2020

The Fair Rents (Scotland) Bill that was introduced to the Scottish Parliament on 1 June 2020, with the aim of controlling rent levels for Private Residential Tenancies has not been advanced to Stage 1 consideration.

The Local Government and Communities Committee decided not to proceed with the Bill as it was considered there would not be sufficient time to scrutinise it fully before next year’s Scottish Parliament elections.

Some of the proposals in the Bill included:

  • Introducing a general cap in Scotland on rent increases for Private Residential Tenancies (PRT) at no more than the annual Consumer Prices Index ("CPI") plus one per cent.
  • Providing tenants on a PRT with the right to apply for a fair rent to be determined no more than once in any 12-month period.
  • Requiring private landlords to disclose the rents they charge for each property when they register or renew their registration on the Scottish Landlord Register.
  • Requiring Scottish Ministers, within three years from the commencement of the proposed legislation to publish a statement on the impact of the Bill.

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We recognise the effort from Scottish Labour MSP Pauline McNeill in bringing forward this Bill.

However, the committee has finite time available for scrutiny, particularly given our pressing need to investigate the devastating impact of COVID-19 on local government and our wider communities.

Given the limited time at our disposal, we felt we could not give this Bill the detailed scrutiny it deserved and so as a committee we decided not to proceed on this occasion.

James Dornan MSP, Convener of the Committee

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It was probably misdirected timing lodging a Bill proposing a cap on rent increases during the middle of the COVID-19 crisis.

In the last few months, there has been an abundance of new legislation affecting the private rented sector. And without knowing what effect the crisis will have, it would not be appropriate introducing legislation that may inadvertently have an adverse effect to the sector.

Daryl McIntosh, Propertymark’s Strategic Development Manager for Scotland