The Scottish Government has recently published a paper and response questionnaire setting out proposals for progressing some of the matters originally consulted on in its New Deal consultation in 2021. Below are the recommendations for the Scottish Association of Landlords.
Do you think rent control should be introduced on a local basis, where assessment shows that there is a need, or should rent control be universally applied across Scotland?
ü Rent control should be introduced on a local basis where assessment shows there is a need
Rent control should be universally applied across Scotland
Where restrictions on rent increases are being applied, do you think those restrictions should apply to:
Both sitting tenants and in-between tenancies
ü Sitting tenants only
Do you agree that, if rent controls in a rent control area apply both within and between tenancies, the first rent increase in a tenancy should be possible at any point after the start of the tenancy provided that at least 12 months has passed since the rent was last increased during the previous tenancy?
Which of the following types of tenancy should be classed as “new to market” and therefore exempt from rent control when the first rent is set? You can select more than one answer.
ü The first tenancy of a property which has not been let as a principal home before
ü The first tenancy of a property following it being purchased with vacant possession by the current landlord
ü The first tenancy of a property which has been empty for a prolonged period
ü The first private residential tenancy of a property where the previous tenancy was a regulated tenancy under the Rent (Scotland) Act 1984
It is proposed that any rent control area will be in place for a fixed time period. To what extent do you agree with the following statements? (Strongly agree/Agree/Neither/Disagree/Strongly disagree)
Strongly agree - Rent control areas should only last for a fixed amount of time. They can only be extended if a new assessment shows they are still needed.
Strongly disagree - The duration of rent control areas should be flexible, and able to be extended beyond the designated time period, permitting indefinite continuation where required.
Strongly disagree - There should not be a time limit on the duration of rent control areas and any decision to end rent control would be based upon a new assessment indicating they are no longer necessary.
Where an area is designated as a rent control area, do you agree that if there are changes in local circumstances there should be a re-assessment before the fixed time period ends so that the designation could be brought to an end earlier than the fixed period?
If rent control areas are put in place for fixed time periods, which time period would you consider to be most appropriate?
ü 1 year
More than 5 years
Where Scottish Ministers intend to introduce rent control to an area, should there be a duty to consult with landlord groups, tenant groups and local authorities in the local area before introducing rent control to that area?
Should there be a mechanism that allows landlords to increase the rent above the annual rent cap in cases where they have not previously raised the rent for the let property when they were permitted to do so i.e. if the landlord chooses not to increase rent for a period of years then they would be allowed to increase it by an amount above the cap at the next rent increase?
If there was a mechanism that allows landlords to increase the rent above the annual rent cap in cases where they have not previously raised the rent for the let property when they were permitted to do so, should this only apply to the first rent increase after a rent control area comes into force or to any rent increase while a rent control area is in force?
It should only apply to the first rent increase after a rent control area comes into force
ü It should apply to any rent increase while a rent control area is in force
Do you think there should be a mechanism to allow landlords to raise the rent above the rent cap, on a case-by-case basis, in certain circumstances such as where there have been improvements to the let property?
If there were to be a mechanism to allow landlords to raise the rent above the rent cap on a case-by case basis, which of the following circumstances do you think this should apply to? You can select more than one answer.
ü Improvements to the quality of fixtures and fittings (beyond cosmetic changes such as painting the walls) e.g. new kitchen, upgrades to appliances etc
ü Improvements to the energy efficiency of the property such as heating systems, or insulation
ü Where the landlord’s costs incurred in letting the property have increased
We propose to introduce a route by which tenants in a rent control area can verify that any proposed rent increase is in line with the rent cap. This could cover cases where the tenant believes their landlord may be proposing to increase the rent by more than the amount allowed. Do you agree with this proposal?
Do you consider that any of the categories of housing below should be considered for exemption from rent controls?
ü Rented property offered for social good where rents are controlled below market level
Purpose-built accommodation for rent, providing professionally managed privately rented accommodation at scale ('Build to Rent')
Both of these categories of housing should be exempt from rent controls
No categories of housing should be exempt from rent controls
Given PRTs were introduced in Scotland more than five years ago, should consideration be given to setting a future date by which remaining assured and short assured tenancies should be phased out?
Do you agree that the notice period which the departing joint tenant must give to the other joint tenants should be 2 months?
No – should be longer
No – should be shorter
Do you agree that some small changes (for example putting up pictures and posters) should not require consent?
Do you agree that other bigger changes (for example painting walls and installing wall shelves) can be requested and not unreasonably refused?
How long should landlords have to respond to a request for a change that cannot be unreasonably refused?
20 working days
ü 30 working days
40 working days
More than 40 working days
How long should the tenant have lived in the let property before they can request bigger changes that cannot be unreasonably refused?
No minimum time
ü 12 months
Do you agree that private tenants should have a right to request and not be unreasonably refused to keep a pet?
How long should private landlords have to respond to a request to keep a pet?
20 working days
ü 30 working days
40 working days
More than 40 working days
To what extend do you agree with the following uses of the funds? (Strongly agree/Agree/Neither/Disagree/Strongly disagree)
Strongly agree - The prevention of homelessness from the private rented sector
Strongly disagree - Advice, information and assistance to private tenants
Strongly disagree - Funding to persons or bodies that can assist private tenants to address barriers to the private rented sector and support access to private rented housing
Strongly disagree - Activities that support private tenant participation and the representation of tenants’ interests at a local and national level
Strongly disagree - Assisting private tenants to exercise their rights
Do you agree that in the private sector the Tribunal should be required to consider whether it is reasonable to delay the enforcement of an eviction at any time of year? Please note, this proposal will not apply to cases of antisocial or criminal behaviour.
ü Strongly disagree