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Scots rents rise faster than UK after Harvie’s law

David Alexander
David Alexander: ‘we have seen an inevitable rise in rents’

Patrick Harvie’s rent controls have contributed to a fall in the number of available properties and resulted in rents for new tenants rising at a faster rate than in the rest of the UK.

The controversial legislation introduced last year by the Tenants’ Rights minister put a cap on rent rises to ease the cost of living.

But it left landlords able to raise rents for new tenants, and with many pulling out of the market following Mr Harvie’s move, it has seen the volume of properties on the market shrink.

Analysis of the latest statistics by a leading property firm DJ Alexander shows that this has coincided with annual private rental prices in Scotland rising by 4.9% in the 12 months to February 2023, against 4.5% in England 4.2% in Wales.

The figure for Scotland is the highest since January 2012 and is higher than the latest London average increase which is 4.6%.

In the six months since the rent freeze was introduced last September Scotland has experienced a higher increase than the other British nations while in the six months before the legislative change it had the lowest monthly average.

Mr Alexander, chief executive of DJ Alexander Scotland, said: “While the rent freeze legislation was sold as benefiting tenants it neglected to point out that new tenants could be charged higher rents.

“With demand at a record high in the private rented sector, and a reduction in the volume of properties available, the entirely foreseeable result was that rents would rise quickly in Scotland.

“What we have seen is the inevitable, and entirely predictable, increase in average rents as a result of the rent freeze policy.

“These latest figures show that without appropriate action to increase the supply of homes in the private rented sector prices will continue to rise.”

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