The Daily Telegraph

Sturgeon to freeze rents and ban evictions in face of crisis

- By Rachel Mortimer

NICOLA STURGEON has announced an emergency rent freeze in Scotland and a temporary ban on evictions to protect tenants during the cost of living crisis.

The freeze will come into force immediatel­y in both the private and social rental sectors and are expected to last until at least March 31 next year.

Ms Sturgeon revealed the emergency measures to the Scottish Parliament yesterday afternoon.

The First Minister said: “We don’t have the power to stop your energy bills from soaring, but we can and will take action to ensure your rent will not rise.

“These are temporary measures, but they will provide much-needed security for many during what will be a difficult winter.”

Price controls in Scotland have been mooted as a solution to helping tenants with rising rents since the pandemic, although they were voted down earlier this year by the Scottish National Party, Greens and Conservati­ves.

Rents in the country rose by 12.3pc in the year to July amid a chronic shortage of properties to let, with the average tenant paying £824 a month, according to the estate agency Hamptons.

However, experts have raised concerns that rent freezes and eviction bans will push more landlords out of the sector, compoundin­g the shortage of rentals and pushing rents higher.

Tom Mundy, of lettings platform Goodlord, said: “Introducin­g rent control could mark the end of the private rental sector as we know it by stripping away the central incentive which encourages people to invest in buy-tolet properties.

“There’s a major risk this freeze will push landlords out of the private rented sector market at a time when pressure on rental stocks is particular­ly acute.”

David Melhuish, at the Scottish Property Federation, said the freeze would “do nothing to address the wider challenges of supplying enough homes for people to buy or rent”. Mr Melhuish added: “If anything, this policy threatens to derail efforts to improve the supply of new, purpose-built homes for rent as investors pause to ask what else the Scottish Government might be prepared to do.

“Already since this announceme­nt we are aware of a multimilli­on-pound investment that has been put on pause.”

Meanwhile, the Scottish Federation of Housing Associatio­ns warned a rent freeze might put the goal of building 110,000 affordable homes by 2032 in jeopardy.

 ?? ?? Nicola Sturgeon said the temporary measures will provide ‘security’ during the cost of living squeeze
Nicola Sturgeon said the temporary measures will provide ‘security’ during the cost of living squeeze

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