In December 2017, Scotland saw the introduction of the Private Residential Tenancy (PRT). Replacing the previous assured and short assured tenancy agreements, any new tenancies grated in Scotland now have to adhere to the changes that the Scottish PRT has brought about.
This now means that landlords are not allowed to increase rent prices for properties they own more than once in any given year, with three months’ notice. However, Govan Law Centre has witnessed cases showing that many landlords are breaking this law.
Govan Law Centre’s recent report cites information from the Scottish Government that PRT rent prices are increasing at double the rate of inflation. In particular, this has been noticed in Glasgow and Edinburgh, causing an increase in homelessness and poverty, as a result.
They have made the claim that private rents in Glasgow are up by almost one third between 2010 and 2018 (31.13%), whereas the consumer price index rose by a total of 18.7% over the same period.
The issue lies, in some cases, with tenants being unaware of their rights, with rogue landlords taking advantage of this. One Govan Law Centre client, a disabled single parent, had her rent increased by 43% during one month, making it £1,500 pcm.
They believe that national regulation should be put in place, similar to what already exists for the social rented sector.
Wendy Malloy, PRS co-ordinator at the Govan Law Centre, commented: “We can evidence that rent increases being implemented during lets are having a serious impact on household financial sustainability, and increasing the risk of homelessness.
“A lot of the time these increases are being done without proper legal notice being served and with tenants simply accepting they have to pay.
“We are seeing many households struggle with arrears and we are providing legal advice and representation in these circumstances. We believe this highlights the need to get the message out to people that there is a formal process in place for increasing rents and mechanisms to appeal should the tenant disagree with the proposed increase.”