Rent control fears drive cost increases

The average rent for a two-bedroom home in Scotland has increased by over 14%, reaching an average of £841 – an extra £105 per month compared to the previous year – as landlords try to cover increasing costs and prepare for the impact of new legislation.

Edinburgh castle and cityscape at night

On top of the pressure of rising costs landlords face, higher demand for properties and a cap on rents – plus fears about future rent controls – have culminated in higher rental costs. 

Propertymark has repeatedly given evidence to the Scottish Government that landlords are increasing rents between tenancies to cover their actual and anticipated costs. 

Edinburgh landscape
17 May 2023
Devastating impact cost of living legislation having on the PRS

Evidence of rising rent 

Two-bed homes are the most common property type, making up 49% of all private rented properties in Scotland. In the year to September 2023, prices went up in all 18 areas of the country, with the biggest leap in Greater Glasgow - up 22.3%, or £191 per month.  

These raises exceed the average increase in UK CPI of 9% for the same period.  

These statistics are predominantly based on advertised rents and reflect rents that landlords charge when their properties become available for rent at the point of tenant turnover or when properties are new to the rental market. The report notes that the figures will not reflect the Cost of Living (Tenants Protection) (Scotland) Act 2022 rent cap restrictions from September 2022, which only apply to existing tenants. 

Plans for permanent rent controls  

In a recent consultation, plans were put forward to require local authorities to carry out an assessment of rents in their area and make a recommendation to MSPs about whether to impose rent controls in all or part of that area. 

Controls would be in the form of a restriction on the amount rents could be increased – either via a rent cap based on a fixed percentage or a formula which could be used to calculate the increase. 

Propertymark campaigning  

Propertymark continues to assert there is no advantage to introducing rent controls and urges Scottish Ministers to properly evaluate the evidence both from the UK and across the world. During November 2023 Propertymark hosted two virtual roundtables with Scottish Government officials where members voiced their concerns directly.  

Flexible tenancies and rent prices driven by market forces have led to the success of the private rented sector across the UK. Landlords must be not deterred from the market and have the finances to invest and improve property standards.  

Increasing the supply of properties, rather than capping rents will ensure rents fall and landlords stay in the market. The private rented sector is a valuable part of the housing picture, and our member agents continually deliver safe and secure housing for millions of people.