A combined rent freeze and moratorium on evictions to help people through the cost crisis has been announced as the centrepiece of the 2022-23 Programme for Government (PfG).
The programme outlines emergency legislation which will be introduced to put in place a rent freeze until at least 31 March 2023 and a moratorium on evictions, as well as a new tenants’ rights campaign. In addition a ‘one-stop-shop’ website will be introduced to provide people with information on the range of benefits and support available to help them through the current cost of living crisis.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:
“This Programme for Government is published in the context of the most severe cost crisis in many of our lifetimes. It is a crisis pushing millions into poverty and poses a genuine danger, not just to livelihoods, but to lives.”
“The Scottish Government is already committed to a range of measures, worth almost £3 billion this year, that will help with rising costs. But the magnitude of what is being experienced by people and businesses means that mitigation is nowhere near sufficient. What is needed now is action on a scale similar to the initial Covid response.”
“To that end we propose emergency legislation to put in place a rent freeze until at least March and a moratorium on evictions.”
The Scottish Association of Landlords has reacted to the above news in strong terms.
John Blackwood, Chief Executive of the Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL), said: “I have been inundated by landlords saying they will be removing their vacant properties from the rental market, and I don’t blame them.”
“Who on earth is going to let a property in the knowledge that they will be unable to meet their own financial and maintenance obligations if their tenants don’t pay the rent or their outgoings increase?”
“Instead of helping tenants pay their bills, the Scottish Government has chosen to penalise people who have provided the homes politicians have failed to provide for decades.”
“Once again the Scottish Government fails to grasp the reality of Scotland’s housing crisis and has chosen the easy option of attacking landlords for political reasons which will only further reduce the supply of housing, putting more people at risk. This is not a solution, it will only cause more hardship.”
“In just a few weeks, we will see more stories of students and others who can’t find suitable accommodation. We warned of this last year and nothing was done but no one should be in any doubt where the blame for that new crisis will lie. It will be at the door of Bute House.”
“Despite reassurances from Scottish Ministers that they value the role private landlords play in provided much needed housing, we are astounded that once again they have chosen to attack landlords at a time when they should be encouraging landlords and tenants to work together to overcome financial hardship.”