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Private renters urged to know their rights

Private renters across Scotland are being urged to know their rights before the emergency rent cap and additional eviction protections end this month.

Maxine McCreadie
Maxine McCreadie

13th March 2024


Scottish tenants are recognised as having some of the strongest rights of any part of the UK. However, from April 1 landlords will be able to raise prices once again.

In response to the news, campaign group Living Rent wrote an open letter to the First Minister and MSPs, calling for further emergency aid until permanent rent protections are put in place.

Also signed by prominent trade union leaders, the letter highlights that the “housing emergency has been decades in the making” and claims that “unaffordable rents are a major driver of poverty.”

Now, as the emergency protections come to an end the Scottish Government is calling on private renters to know where they stand.

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Know the rules

While landlords will only be able to raise prices to the current market value of the property, renters are being encouraged to know what to expect from their landlord going forward.

To address concerns, the Scottish Government has launched an awareness campaign to highlight tenants’ rights, including:

• the right to ask for a review of a rent increase
• protection from illegal evictions or being asked to leave a property without proper notice
• a landlord giving a tenant the correct notice period before increasing rent
• ensuring rented homes are maintained to an acceptable standard

Tenants and landlords are both being reminded that the emergency rent cap will remain in place until April 1. That means all rent increase notices for private tenancies issued before then must still comply with the current cap of 3%. Any rent increases proposed after that date will still need to give three months’ notice and tenants can seek a review of any increases they’re worried about.


Cost of living puts more pressure on renters

Private rent has long hit the headlines as a historic problem for thousands across Scotland. However, the cost of living crisis has only increased the pressure on those living in rented accommodation.

According to figures, rents across Scotland increased by 14.3% to an average of £841 a month in the last year. Meanwhile, open rent is significantly higher at £1,097 a month.

Unsurprisingly big cities and urban areas have noticed major increases, with rent spiking by 22.3% in Glasgow and 18.4% in Lothian.

But as three local authorities announce a housing crisis across the country (Argyll and Bute, Edinburgh and Glasgow), all eyes are on the Government for further support.


“Tenants have significant rights”

Speaking of the end of the emergency cap, Tenants’ Rights Minister Patrick Harvie said: “Our emergency legislation has led the way in the UK in capping most in-tenancy rent increases, protecting tenants across Scotland from the worst impacts of the cost-of-living crisis.

“The emergency nature of the legislation, which was approved by parliament, means the rent cap cannot be extended beyond 31 March. But tenants still have significant rights from before the emergency act, and we have made use of powers to make sure any rent rises are more manageable.”

He added: “Subject to parliamentary approval, the system of checking rent rises will be adjusted from 1 April so that rents are not simply jumping to market levels in all cases in one step.

“I would encourage anyone who is currently renting or about to enter the rental market to check the rights that exist to protect them from unfair practices.”

Mr Harvie’s advice was also echoed by Citizens Advice Scotland, with the organisation also encouraging people to understand their rights and make sure they’re receiving as much financial support as they can.

Spokesperson Emma Jackson said: “It’s so important that people understand their rights around private rents once the rent cap ends. If you think your landlord has put up the rent by too much after 1 April you can apply to Rent Service Scotland to see if it is a fair rise.

“The reality is the cost-of-living crisis has left a lot of people struggling to afford essential bills like energy and rent, and the Citizens Advice network can help with broader advice to increase how much money you have coming in each month or cutting bills.”


If you’re struggling with rent arrears or other debt, it’s important to seek professional advice as soon as possible. At Carrington Dean our advisors can discuss your situation in detail and advise on all of the solutions available to you.

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Maxine McCreadie
Maxine McCreadie

Maxine is an experienced writer, specialising in personal insolvency. With a wealth of experience in the finance industry, she has written extensively on the subject of Individual Voluntary Arrangements, Protected Trust Deed's, and various other debt solutions.

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Current Version

March 13 2024

Written by
Maxine McCreadie

Edited by
Ben McCormack

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