Patrick Harvie, the tenants rights minister for the Scottish Government, has said new legislation will make renting easier for tenants amidst a cost of living crisis.
His comments come as emergency legislation aimed at freezing most rents until the end of March 2023 has been introduced by the Scottish government.
The legislation also provides for a six month moratorium on evictions.
Speaking to BBC Good Morning Scotland, Mr Harvie said: “It’s very clear that people in the rented sector have a higher level of poverty and are more exposed to the cost crisis than the rest of the population.”
The Cost of Living (Protection of Tenants) (Scotland) Bill will shortly be fast-tracked through the Holyrood scrutiny process.
If approved, ministers will be given temporary power to cap rents for private and social tenancies, with this cap set at 0%.
The legislation covers the period from September 9 (when the bill was announced) until March 31.
Asked if he is concerned about casting landlords as villains, Mr Harvie said: “Some people are facing 40 per cent increases and that is wildly unacceptable so we’ve put in this measure for the first six months. We have made no decision yet what will happen after the end of March next year because we will have to judge that in the circumstances as they develop. We can have the extension for two further six month periods if necessary but we will have to demonstrate it’s a necessary measure and proportionate to the economic circumstances.
“We are already working closely with the social rented sector ahead of any decision after March and we’ll make the decision in light of the context which is distinctive for the social rented sector.
“Good, responsible landlords have nothing to fear from this legislation. There’s a package of safeguards in there if they do face unforeseen costs and there’s some flexibility built in. There are also grounds for eviction if they face particular hardship and have to move into the property or sell the property to alleviate their own hardship or avoid homelessness themselves.”