Scottish Parliament committee meeting postponed due to legal action over rent increase cap

Legal action by landlords forced the postponement of a Holyrood committee meeting that would have heard evidence from the minister responsible for extending the cap on rent increases in Scotland.

The local government, housing and planning committee was set to hear evidence from tenants rights’ minister Patrick Harvie, as well as representatives from organisations and tenants’ unions on Tuesday morning.

Living Rent and Shelter Scotland were among those invited to give evidence to the Holyrood committee. It was later confirmed to have been postponed for the foreseeable future due to the legal action taken by a group of landlords associations on Friday.

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The body is seeking a judicial review at Scotland’s highest court over the decision to freeze rents and ban evictions due to the cost-of-living crisis.

The Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL), Scottish Land and Estates (SLE) and Propertymark filed a petition at the Court of Session on Friday, seeking judicial review of the emergency legislation passed last year.

The Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) (Scotland) Act was fast-tracked through Holyrood over three days, effectively freezing rent rises by capping them at 0 per cent, with some landlords able to apply for increases of 3 per cent to cover building costs.

The legislation also banned evictions from being enforced in Scotland until the end of March.

Mr Harvie on Thursday last week announced the extension of the eviction ban until September 30. While the rent cap will be lifted from 0 per cent to 3 per cent in the private rented sector, the freeze will be scrapped for social landlords, who reached an agreement with ministers that increases would be below inflation.

The Scottish Government has announced the rent cap will be extended.

In a nine-page submission to the Court of Session, signed by Lord Davidson of Glen Cova KC – a former Advocate General for Scotland – the groups argue the legislation has led to “a material adverse impact on the income and capital of landlords renting property in Scotland”.

A spokesperson for the local government, housing and planning committee told The Scotsman: “The convener has decided to postpone the meeting due to ongoing legal proceedings, which overlap with the subject matter of the committee’s evidence session.”

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