New Housing Bill Published for Scotland

Date Published 28 March 2024

On the 26th March 2024 the Scottish Parliament introduced a new Bill which set out changes to be made to the law, this would cover rent controls, tenants right to keep pets, decorate their homes and delay evictions under certain circumstances. This legislation will be included in Scotland New Deal for Tenants, which was originally drafted in 2021 to form part of their housing to 2040 strategy.

In 2022 a temporary rent cap was brought in to Scotland. However, the Scottish government proposes that local authorities will have to carry out an assessment of rents in their area and make a recommendation to MSPs about whether to impose rent controls in parts of that area.

Also, Scotland will introduce a specific requirement for the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland and the Scottish Courts. This would consider whether an eviction should be delayed due to factors such as seasonal pressures, detriment to health or financial hardship. If an eviction is unlawful there is also changes to order a Landlord or their agent to pay damages of between 3 and 36 months' rent to a tenant if they determine that they have been illegally evicted.

One major change for the renter's reform was that Landlords would have to consider a request for any pets and would not be able to turn the request away without proof that their property isn't suitable. Now in Scotland's private residential tenancy the right to request to keep a pet can not be unreasonable refused. Landlords would be entitled to set conditions for approval, such as requiring an additional amount of deposit.

The Bill will also make it easier for Tenants to be given more freedom to personalise their private rented homes, with small changes like putting pictures on walls will not require permission. A Landlord would not be able to unreasonably withhold permission for bigger changes, like painting the walls inside the property. However, permission for more substantial modifications to fixtures and fittings would remain at the landlord's discretion.