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Private rents in Scotland soar by up to 22% despite ScotGov rent freeze

Rents continue to rise in Scotland <i>(Image: Pixabay)</i>
Rents continue to rise in Scotland (Image: Pixabay)

The average private sector rent across Scotland has soared by up to 22% in a year - despite bill curbs brought in by the Scottish Government to support people through the cost-of-living crisis.

The official figures for the year to September, 2023, based predominantly on advertised rents, put the average rent for a two-bedroom in Scotland at £841 – up £105 compared with the previous year.

Average rents for a two-bedroom property in Scotland, the most common size of property in the private rented sector, rose by 14.1%.

Glasgow saw the highest rent increase of any area – both over the past year and past 13 years.

The average rent for a two-bedroom property in Glasgow soared by 22.3% in the year up to September.

The average rent for such a house now costs £1,050 a month – up from £858 in 2022 and £564 in 2010.

That represents a 86.2% rise in 13 years.

Details of the rent hikes have come despite the then First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announcing a rent freeze in September, last year to beat the cost of living crisis.

Rent increase notices between September 6, last year and March 31, 2023 were seen as void.

It was replaced by a 3% rent cap for private tenancies only in April which was to remain in place till September 30, 2023.

A further six-month extension was agreed by ministers meaning landlords with properties within Scotland will continue to face restrictions to rent rises until March 2024.

The Herald:
The Herald:

Lothian had the highest average monthly two-bed rent, at £1,192, while Dumfries and Galloway had the lowest (£487).

Scottish Conservatives' shadow cabinet secretary for social security, housing and equalities, Miles Briggs said: “This is the entirely predictable result of the SNP-Green government’s imposition of a rent cap, and their longstanding failure to tackle the shortage of housing stock.

“If landlords are prevented from raising rent gradually in line with inflation, it’s inevitable that there will be eye-watering jumps of this kind.

“Rises of 14 per cent are sure to mean that people will be priced out of areas like Lothian and Glasgow, with terrible implications for the wider economy. It’s clear this policy has – as many people warned it would be – totally counterproductive, and it should be dropped as soon as possible.”

But tenants rights’ minister Patrick Harvie said the Scottish Government will forge ahead with the introduction of long-term rent controls before the end of the current parliament.

He said: “These statistics show how rents charged by private landlords in Scotland have been rising for more than a decade, and they are yet more evidence of the importance of action to make rents more affordable.”

After Glasgow, Lothian had the biggest annual rent rise at 18.4%.

That was followed by Argyll and Bute (18.2%), West Dunbartonshire (17.2%), Renfrewshire and Inverclyde (16.7%), East Dunbartonshire 15.0%), Dundee and Angus (15.0%), Scottish Borders (11.5%), North Lanarkshire (11.0%), the Ayrshires (10.7%) and South Lanarkshire (9.6%).

The lowest increases were in Dumfries and Galloway (1.5%), West Lothian (2.3%), Perth and Kinross (2.8%) and Highlands and Islands (3%).

The Herald: Patrick Harvie condemned the Prime Minister’s rollback of climate pledges (Jane Barlow/PA)
The Herald: Patrick Harvie condemned the Prime Minister’s rollback of climate pledges (Jane Barlow/PA)

Mr Harvie said: “There is no one solution to addressing rent affordability and our work to introduce long-term rent controls as part of the next Housing Bill is one measure being taken forward. This is alongside increasing the supply of affordable housing and our successful action to press the UK Government to increase Local Housing Allowance rates announced last week.

“Our temporary emergency legislation in response to the cost-of-living crisis has also provided tenants with much needed stability at a time when rents have been increasing across the UK. This includes a three per cent rent cap in most cases and a temporary pause on the enforcement of evictions.

"Only in Scotland have tenants had this protection during a tenancy. This rent cap applies only within existing tenancies, so is not reflected in these statistics which are based on newly advertised rents.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: "Households are seeing a greater and greater proportion of their income eaten up by rent. A lack of availability, skyrocketing prices and poor quality housing are all playing a part in making life miserable for far too many.

"Scotland needs to build more homes of every kind and re-establish social renting as a viable option."