A further recommendation is that there should be, in principle, a national Scotland-wide system of rent controls rather than the Rent Pressure Zones that exist now. However, the document contains the controversial recommendation: “National rent controls only apply to the Private rented sector.”
Details for the national rent controls are thin, even in the full 108-page document, but it says:
“Vision for future rent controls: Tenants pay affordable and reasonable rent for good quality homes, helping to support efforts to reduce poverty and improve outcomes for low income tenants and their families.
“Underlying principles for national rent controls:
• They will have an appropriate mechanism to allow local authorities to introduce local measures.
• They will be evidence based.
• Their design will support and encourage the private rented sector to improve the quality of rented properties.
• Policy development on rent control legislation will seek to learn from the processes already in place for social sector tenants in relation to rent levels.
• Policy will be developed taking into consideration the views of all stakeholders but with a particular focus on giving private tenants a stronger voice.”
The rest of the document includes proposals on:
– increasing penalties for illegal evictions and stronger enforcement;
– restricting evictions during winter;
– giving tenants greater flexibility to personalise their homes and keep pets;
– introducing a new Housing Standard to apply to all homes;
– establishing a private rented sector regulator to uphold these standards and ensure the system is fair for both landlords and tenants;
– setting minimum standards for energy efficiency, making homes cheaper to heat while contributing to Scotland’s climate change targets.