Landlords consider legal action over Scotland's rent freeze – BBC

Landlords and letting agents are seeking legal advice about whether the rent freeze in Scotland is lawful.
The Scottish government has capped rents for private and social tenants until March 2023.
Four groups representing landlords and letting agents have instructed a lawyer to consider whether the ban breaches their rights.
The Scottish government has said the move would help people in the cost of living crisis.
Emergency legislation to freeze most rents was passed by the Scottish Parliament last week.
The Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) (Scotland) Bill gives ministers temporary powers to cap rents for private and social tenants, with evictions only allowed under certain circumstances.
The legislation, which was fast-tracked through the Scottish Parliament's scrutiny process by tenants' rights minister Patrick Harvie, can be extended over two further six-month periods.
The groups considering legal action against the legislation are the Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL), Propertymark, the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) and Scottish Land and Estates (SLE).
SAL chief executive John Blackwood said they were taking legal counsel with a "heavy heart".
"Seeking a legal opinion has been our last resort because our concerns are not being listened to by the Scottish government," he said.
"This emergency legislation is high-minded in spirit but lacking in the kind of detail landlords need assurance about.
"Uncertainty for landlords only creates ambiguity for tenants, and I do not think the government appreciates the level of confusion it has now created."
Tough times did not excuse "ill-designed legislation" to deal with underlying stresses in the private rental market they had been warning about for years, he added.
Lord Neil Davidson of Glen Clova KC has been instructed to consider whether the legislation breaches the individual rights of landlords in Scotland, including a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The coalition said it would consider all legal options if he considers a breach of landlords' rights has occurred. His decision is due within the next month.
Landlord groups have raised concerns about the legislation being introduced without sufficient evidence or consultation and could affect how properties are used.
Nathan Emerson, from Propertymark, said: "Landlords and agents alike have proven their ability over the pandemic to work with tenants. Many landlords have kept their rents lower in a bid to help but it must be acknowledged that their costs are rising too."
Scottish Land and Estates, which represents some of the largest providers of housing in rural Scotland, said legislation would exacerbate the acute shortage of properties available for rent in those areas.
Ben Beadle, chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, also warned of a supply crisis in the private rental sector.
"Far from making things better, a rent freeze will mean less choice for tenants, making it more difficult for them to access the housing they need," he said.
A Scottish government spokesman said the bill addressed the cost of living crisis by increasing protection for tenants, including students, from eviction and rent rises.
"The measures will apply initially until March next year", the spokesman said. "We will keep their impact on the wider property market under review during that time.
"The legislation has been carefully designed to balance the protections that are urgently needed for tenants with important safeguards for those landlords who may also be impacted by the cost crisis and face financial hardship."
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