Housing Policy Changes
Tenant Protection Law Final Extension
The Scottish Government have announced that the Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) Act introduced in October 2022 to protect tenants against the impacts of rising costs will remain in place until March 2024.
This will mean that in-tenancy private rent increases will continue to be capped at 3%. However, private landlords can apply for increases of up to 6% to help cover certain increases in costs in a specified time period where these costs can be evidenced.
Enforced evictions will continue to be paused for six months except in a number of specified circumstances. Increased damages for unlawful evictions of up to 36 months’ worth of rent will continue to apply.
Going forward, there are plans to introduce a new Housing Bill to deliver a New Deal for Tenants, including the introduction of long-term rent controls for the private rented sector, minimum housing standards and allowing tenants greater flexibility to personalise their homes and keep pets.
Short Term Lets Licencing
The Short Term Lets Licencing scheme was introduced by the Scottish Government to ensure short-term lets in Scotland are safe and meet consistent quality standards, including having gas certificates and suitable electrical equipment.
From the 1st of October 2023, all existing short term let accommodation must have applied for a licence. New hosts need to apply for a short term let licence from their local council before they can accept bookings.
There are 4 types of licence:
- ‘Home Sharing’ means you rent out all or part of your own home while you’re living there.
- ‘Home Letting’ means letting all or part of your own home while you’re not there, for example while you’re on holiday
- ‘Secondary Letting‘ means letting a property where you do not normally live e.g., holiday let
- ‘Home Letting and Home Sharing’ means you let out all or part of your own home both while you are living there and also at times when you’re not there.
Short term let licences last for three years. In addition to a licence, operators will need to have all the requisite safety certification (gas, electricity, and water safety) plus an EPC Certificate.
Some properties may also require a building warrant and subject to location, some may require planning permission. You do not need a licence if you rent out part of your house under the ‘Rent a Room Scheme’.
Agri Environment Climate Scheme
The next round of the Agri-Environment Climate Scheme (AECS) will open for applications in January 2024 with the targeted support focusing on the Agri-environment, slurry and digestate storage and seeking to double the amount of land under organic management.
For the 2024 round, funding for heather cutting, chemical and mechanical treatment of bracken, restoring of drystone or flagstone dykes and pond creation and restoration for wildlife (limited to 2,000m2 per application) will be reintroduced. In addition to which, the option for creation of hedgerows will be increased from 500 metres to 1,000 metres per application.
The application windows for the respective funding sectors are:
|Will open in early 2024, details still to be announced.
|Organic conversion and maintenance (Stand-alone)
|1 February 2024
|31 July 2024*
|1 February 2024
|10 June 2024
*If you are applying for Organic conversion and maintenance as part of a single application with Agri-environment management it must be submitted by the 10 June deadline.
For further details, see online at https://www.ruralpayments.org/topics/all-schemes/agri-environment-climate-scheme/
Potato Exports to N. Ireland Resume
While Brexit saw the loss of the Scottish Seed potato export market with the EU; the Windsor Framework, has paved the way for trading seed potatoes to resume from the 30th of September 2023. Pre-Brexit, Scotland sold an estimated 2,500 tonnes of seed potatoes into Northern Ireland.
Unfortunately, this is a singular agreement, with the trading channels for seed potatoes to the rest of the EU remaining firmly blocked.
Christine Beaton, firstname.lastname@example.org
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