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Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) Bill

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The Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) Bill is temporary emergency legislation that has been passed by the Scottish Parliament in order to give renting tenants enhanced security in their tenancies and accommodation contracts in response to the cost of living crisis being experienced across the UK. Please note that this only applies to those living in Scotland.  

What does it mean? 

The bill was passed to ensure that Scottish Ministers could temporarily prevent rent increases for private and social housing tenants, including those living in student accommodation. The aim is to reduce risk of homelessness and prevent rents from rising further at a time when living costs are increasing drastically and impacting some of the most vulnerable tenants, including students.  

The legislation does two things: prevents in-tenancy rent increases and evictions except in very specific circumstances.  

Am I included? 

If you live in a property that you rent from a private landlord or letting agency, a council/local authority or housing association, or you live in University accommodation or purpose built student accommodation/private halls, then you are included in the protections offered by this legislation.  

There are very specific types of tenancies where rent can be increased, but these are very uncommon for students to have. They include: regulated tenancies, lodger agreements, and agricultural tenancies. If you want to check whether you’re included, particularly if you live with your landlord, please contact us.  

How am I protected from rent increases? 

Landlords must provide rent increase notices when they wish to increase rent when you are living in their property. Normally, they can do this during a tenancy with correct notice, but currently they cannot.  

  • If you live in a privately rented or social property and received a rent increase notice on or after the 6th September 2022 then it is not valid and you do not have to pay the higher rent.  

  • If you live in University halls or purpose built student accommodation/private halls and received a rent increase notice on or after the 6th October 2022 then it is not valid and you do not have to pay the higher rent.  

When does it apply? 

Currently, the legislation is active from the 6th September 2022 until 31st March 2023. The legislation may be extended following this.  

How and when can my landlord increase my rent? 

The legislation only applies during tenancies, so if you are moving out of one property and into a new one, the landlord can increase rent on a property in between tenants as a new agreement will be issued. If, for example, one flatmate moves out and another moves in and the tenancy agreement is reissued with the new tenant’s names on it then this would also be subject to a potential rent increase.  

Your landlord may also apply to increase rent during a tenancy in certain circumstances such as their mortgage payments increasing, however they have to following a specific process that includes proving to a rent officer that their costs have increased. There is a limit to how much your rent could be increased by and this is approved by a rent officer. 

Can I be evicted? 

There is a limited ban in place on evictions, but there are exceptions to this. Your landlord can still apply for and be granted a valid eviction notice and order and issue this to you, but you cannot be made to leave your property while the ban is active (currently until 31st March 2023).  

The eviction ban does not apply to those living with their landlord or if your eviction order was granted before 6th September 2022.  

You can still be evicted in certain circumstances, including due to antisocial or criminal activity or accruing 6 months’ of rent arrears (or £2250 of rent arrears if you rent from a council or housing association), but there is an expectation that your landlord tries to help before evicting you. It is really important not to stop paying your rent – please contact the Advice Hub for advice if you are struggling to keep up with the cost of your rent.  

Where can I get more information?  

For more information on the Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) Bill, Shelter Scotland have a great guide and the Scottish Government has a full rundown of how the legislation applies.  

Where can I get help if my landlord wants to increase my rent or evict me? 

The Advice Hub can advise you on your rights in either of these situations, including checking whether the rent increase or eviction notice is valid and how to work with your landlord to try and minimise impact.  

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