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Rent freeze and eviction ban announced for Scotland

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The First Minister of Scotland has announced a rent and rail freeze, as well as an eviction ban to help families through the cost-of-living crisis.

Nicola Sturgeon confirmed today that the Scottish government will take “immediate action” to protect tenants in the private and social rented sectors.

She said: “I can announce that we will shortly introduce emergency legislation to parliament. The purpose of the emergency law will be two-fold.

“Firstly, it will aim to give people security about the roof over their heads this winter through a moratorium on evictions

“Secondly, the legislation will include measures to deliver a rent freeze.”

Sturgeon added: “The Scottish government does not have the power to stop your energy bills soaring, but we can and will take action to ensure that your rent does not rise.

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

It is expected that the measures will be in place until at least 31 March 2023, while the rent freeze will apply from today.

She also announced that ScotRail fares will be frozen until at least March 2023, and in a bid to tackle child poverty, she confirmed the Scottish Child Payment of £20 per week for eligible children up to the age of six, will increase to £25 per week per child from 14 November 2022.

Further, from this date, applications for the benefit will also be opened up for children up to the age of 16.

Sturgeon added that the increase in the payment will mean it has increased by 150% in less than eight months, and it will make 400,000 children eligible for support worth £1,300 a year.

The First Minister, said: “It will lift children out of poverty, enhance their life chances and improve the lives of thousands of families across the country.”

‘Easy option of attacking landlords’

John Blackwood, chief executive of the Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL), said he is meeting with the minister for zero carbon buildings, active travel and tenants’ rights (Patrick Harvie MSP), to “demand more details of what these measures will entail” as “members are rightly very concerned about this announcement”.

He said that since rumours of this announcement broke this morning, SAL has been inundated by landlords saying they will be removing their vacant properties from the rental market, adding “and I don’t blame them.”

Blackwood said: “Who on earth is going to let a property when they know tenants can simply choose not to pay rent or commit anti-social behaviour and there is nothing they can do about it? Landlords will not 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.

“The Scottish government fails to grasp the reality of Scotland’s housing crisis and has chosen the easy option of attacking landlords 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.

“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.”

The National Residential Landlord Association (NRLA) which operates in England and Wales said it does not expect a similar announcement in England.

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