Decision published in Cost of Living legal challenge

Today, 2 November 2023, the Opinion of the Hon Lord Harrower was released on Propertymark’s joint Judicial Review Petition, alongside the Scottish Association of Landlords and Scottish Land & Estates, that challenged the Scottish Government’s rent control and eviction ban under the Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) (Scotland) Act 2022.

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The challenge was not successful, and although this is not the outcome that the sector hoped for, all three organisations, backed strongly by members, were pleased to have taken a stand against the Scottish Government and publicly championed the impact and needs of the sector.

This legal action sent a clear message to the Scottish Government that the sector will challenge any unreasonable measures, and we hope this will lead them to be more mindful of the interests of members and the private rented sector in the future.   

Disproportionate and unfair

The basis for the case was that the legislation seeks to transfer the burden of increasing costs from households to landlords; leaving housing providers potentially unable to cover their costs and facing significant delays to exit a loss-making tenancy. Legal Counsel acting for Propertymark and our partner organisations argued that the Act’s provisions are disproportionate and unfair, failing to recognise that the pressures faced by those in the private rented sector affect not only tenants but also landlords who face steeply rising costs.

Propertymark’s evidence was gathered directly from our member agents in Scotland and outlined increased costs that many landlords faced alongside the fact that the legislation had brought rent increases into consideration for many landlords who otherwise wouldn’t be looking at the issue.

Continued campaigning

We still await Counsel’s comments on the decision and Propertymark is in dialogue with the Scottish Association of Landlords and Scottish Land & Estates to digest the ruling. 

The Cost of Living legislation comes to an end in March 2024 and we are now urging Scottish Ministers to outline the next steps on the cap and to provide the urgent clarity needed by letting agents and landlords going forward.

Invaluable support from members

Propertymark would like to thank all our members who donated to the crowdfund. Bringing a judicial review is expensive, with the initial review likely to cost more than £60,000 in legal costs and court fees.

Contributions can still be made to support ongoing and anticipated costs, and can be sent to:

Account Name: Propertymark Ltd
Sort Code: 20-48-08
Account Number: 00648701
Reference: JR Donation

Read the judgement in full