21 Dec 2022

CIH Scotland responds to statement on rent setting for social landlords beyond March 2023

A written question lodged by Ariane Burgess MSP has asked the Scottish Government to provide an update on engagement with social landlords regarding the approach for rent setting for 2023/24 in light of the Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) (Scotland) Act 2022.

The answer, provided by Patrick Harvie MSP, confirms that voluntary agreements have been reached with social housing sector representatives meaning that the Scottish Government intends to expire social rented sector rent capping from March 2023.

COSLA has agreed that local authorities will commit to an average rent increase of no more than £5 per week. SFHA has reported an average planned increase of 6.1 percent among their members. The statement suggests there will be some flexibility outwith these average increases to take account of landlords with specific requirements for planned maintenance or improvements.

The full statement is available here. There have been no updates on the continuation of emergency legislation for the private rented sector (PRS).

Callum Chomczuk, national director at CIH Scotland said:

“We welcome the decision of the Scottish Government to expire the rent control provision for the social sector, allowing councils and RSLs to control their rent setting process from April. Today’s agreement strikes a balance between protecting tenants from cost-of-living increases but also allows social landlords to make modest adjustment to rent levels so that they can reinvest in new supply, improving stock and better services.

“However, we also note that no decision has been communicated on eviction protections across the whole rented sector, nor any decision about future rent levels in the PRS.

“We remain concerned that the continuation of the rent cap in the PRS will have significant unintended consequences which will undermine tenants’ housing outcomes.

“This policy is likely to encourage landlords to increase rents between tenancies when they may not otherwise have done so. Additionally, it will drive some landlords out of the market, reducing the supply of privately rented accommodation available.

“The Scottish Government has strived to strike a balance between protecting tenant and recognising the need for investment in the social sector, we would encourage ministers to ensure that this approach is mirrored for the PRS so that private landlords are able to reinvest in their housing stock and long-term housing supply is not unduly affected.”