what does the housing scotland bill mean for landlords

What Does the Housing (Scotland) Bill Mean for Landlords?

Find out how the new housing bill introduced to the Scottish Parliament could impact you and your tenants if it passes into law.

The Housing (Scotland) Bill, unveiled on 26th March 2024, proposes a series of adjustments concerning rent controls, tenants’ rights regarding pets and home decoration, and a procedure for postponing evictions in specific circumstances.

If passed into law, this bill is likely to bring into effect many of the measures outlined in the Scottish Government’s New Deal for Tenants – a set of reforms aimed at enhancing the rights and living conditions of renters.

As a landlord in Scotland, there’s a chance these changes significantly impact your rental strategy, so it’s crucial that you stay informed and prepared.

  1. Introducing rent control areas
  2. Duty to consider delaying eviction
  3. Paying tenants damages for illegal eviction
  4. The right to ask to keep a pet
  5. No landlord approval needed for small changes

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Introducing rent control areas

The Scottish Government proposes that local authorities undertake an assessment of rents in their area and subsequently advise MSPs on whether to introduce rent controls across all or part of that area.

These controls would likely take the form of restrictions on rent increases, potentially through a fixed percentage rent cap or a formula designed to calculate the allowable increase.

Duty to consider delaying eviction

This proposal suggests that when a tenant is being evicted in Scotland, the authorities must consider whether it’s fair to delay the eviction. This rule would apply to all types of rented homes, whether they are private or from a council or housing association.

For example, if a person is struggling financially or if it’s a difficult time of year like winter, the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber) and the Scottish Courts would be required to assess whether eviction should be delayed.

The aim is to ensure tenants are not unfairly pushed out of their homes, but it could potentially create financial challenges for landlords without adequate support.

Paying tenants damages for illegal eviction

The Housing (Scotland) Bill also proposes to make it possible for a court or tribunal to order a landlord or their agent to pay damages of between three and 36 months’ rent to a tenant if they determine that they have been illegally evicted.

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The right to ask to keep a pet

This change, resembling what the Renters (Reform) Bill suggests for England and Wales, would grant tenants with a private residential tenancy the right to ask to keep a pet and to not be unreasonably denied.

In addition, landlords would be entitled to set conditions for approval, such as requiring an additional amount of deposit.

No landlord approval needed for small changes

Tenants would have more freedom to make their rented home feel like their own. For instance, they would be able to make small changes like hanging pictures without asking for permission.

For bigger changes, like painting the walls inside the property, the landlord would also not be able to unreasonably withhold permission.

However, for significant changes to things like fixtures and fittings, it would still be up to the landlord to decide.

As a landlord in Scotland, it’s essential to keep up with these changes and plan ahead for your rental investment’s well-being.

In case you haven’t heard, our professional-grade tenancy creation service Rent Now is now available in Scotland, saving you thousands of pounds in advertising and tenancy management costs.

Last but not least, if you’re interested in staying up-to-date with the latest developments in the private rented sector in England and Wales, take a look at our comprehensive Renters (Reform) Bill explainer here.

This article is not intended to form legal or investment advice. Investments in property are not guaranteed and can decrease in value as well as increase.

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