31 Oct 23

Average rents in Scotland for new tenancies in the private sector have risen by double digits for the fourth quarter in a row since the introduction of rent controls.

The new figures from lettings portal Citylets re-inforce industry beliefs that the current policy on rent controls – providing for caps within tenancies under the controversial Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) (Scotland) Act 2022 – have led to hikes on the open market attracting or accelerating further legislative attention with proposals for full market controls.

The current emergency legislation is due to expire on March 31 next year but is widely expected to be replaced with wider, more permanent legislation.

Almost all major regions in Scotland witnessed double digit annual growth, up to 19 per cent, in the third quarter of 2023 with the market moving at frenetic pace for would-be renters.

Citylets managing director Thomas Ashdown says: “It is clear from the latest [Scottish] government consultation that future policy for Scotland’s private rented sector will likely take the form of the current legislation with a further capping of rents, now including the open market. Indeed many would argue that the current legislation has accelerated and/or shaped the forthcoming regulations.

“Whilst it is of course understandable that the headline figures for the continued sharp rise in open market rents will be causing unease, it remains a statement of fact that expanding the number of homes in the sector will have the natural cooling affect desired. A larger number of available homes will see more people housed at more affordable rents.”

Commenting on the Scottish market, Karen Turner of Rettie & Co says: “Scotland’s two mains cities are still feeling the aftermath of the busy summer months with tenant demand far outstripping supply. There remains huge disparity between supply and demand. 

“The impending short let regulations have further hampered this issue across the whole of Scotland. These landlords in the main won’t revert into the PRS as was hoped. We urgently require Scottish Government to do a big U-turn and address the housing crisis over all sectors. More encouragement, not barriers for landlords to enter the market whether they are private or institutional. We have a beautiful country and people want to live here but are increasingly finding it difficult. ”

The average property to rent in Scotland, having surpassed the £1,000 mark for the first time in Q1 2023, continued to rise to average £1,115 per month with the rate of growth accelerating to 13.7 per cent year on year.

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