Rent Control in Scotland has Backfired

Date Published 16 February 2024

In September 2022, Scotland introduced rent freezes and since then have controlled rent increases for Landlords and Agents. However, a recent data analysis by Zoopla has shown that rent controls introduced in Scotland have directly led to higher rents. Private tenants in Scotland are facing big rent rises and mass evictions as emergency protections expire at the end of next month.

Initially this was to reduce the cost-of-living pressures for renters, now it means that Landlords are going to have to raise their rents at the start of a tenancy to cover their costs and limited increases during previous contracts. Scotland has now seen the highest level of annual inflation in the UK at 11.1%. The average monthly rent in Scotland stands at £790, this has risen by £82 more than a year ago. Zoopla is expecting Scotland's rent rise to outpace the rest of the UKs throughout 2024.

Across the whole UK the portal says that the average rent has risen 8.3% in the last year, this is adding £1,100 to the average annual bill for a household. On average UK renters are now paying £1,220 per month on average, ranging from £695 in the North East to £2,119 in London.

Zoopla has said that rental growth is slowing to single digits. In the past two years rental growth has passed after nearly two years of 10% or higher increases. London is seeing growth slow the most as rents hit an affordability ceiling. There is an expected further slowdown in 2024 rental growth as worsening affordability keeps demands in check.

Ariane Burgess, the Scottish Greens' housing spokesperson said 'Scotland is leading the way. But we're also making Scotland normal in terms of other EU countries, where the rental sector is bigger and much better regulated. Over the last decade, we've had rents spiral out of control. Rents increased 80% in a decade in Glasgow, those figures are astronomical and if rents are genuinely going to become affordable there needs to be a mechanism to reverse this. That's our vision.'