A RENT cap and ban on evictions looks set to be extended for a further six months in an effort to protect private tenants during the cost-of-living crisis.

Tenants' Rights Minster Patrick Harvie has confirmed proposals to keep the Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) Act measures in place until the end of March at the latest. Current legislation is due to expire at the end of September.

This would mean most in-tenancy private rent increases would continue to be capped at 3% while enforcement of evictions would continue to be paused for six months for most tenants.

Increased damages for unlawful evictions of up to 36 months’ worth of rent would continue to be applicable.

Private landlords could apply for rent increases of up to 6% to help cover certain increases in costs in a specified time period where these costs can be evidenced.

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Parliament is still to vote on the proposed extension.

Harvie clarified if Parliament did vote for it, this would be the final period the legislation would be in force.

Greens MSP Harvie said: “As the cost-of-living crisis continues, these measures are giving important support to tenants, providing them with much-needed stability in their housing costs and additional eviction protections.

“As the social housing sector have agreed their rents in consultation with their tenants, the focus of this temporary legislation is on providing private renters with similar protection.

"We know some landlords are impacted by rising costs too. The option of increasing rents by 6% in specified circumstances ensures landlords who may be impacted by the cost-of-living crisis can recover some increased costs associated with their let property.

“The final date of March 31, 2024 would be as long as the rent cap and eviction protections could run if approved by Parliament.

"The necessity of these measures is being kept under review and we will continue to assess whether they remain justified, balanced and proportionate based on the financial pressures rented households and landlords are facing.

“We are also looking at how to transition out of the emergency measures, and we continue to listen to and work hard with stakeholders to develop and deliver rental sector reform.”

Social-rented sector tenants are protected by the voluntary agreement reached with social landlords on below-inflation rent increases for this financial year.

Aditi Jehangir, secretary of tenants' union Living Rent, said: "This announcement provides a huge relief for private tenants.

"Inflation might have decreased but working people are still struggling to make ends meet.

"Rents are still sky-high and food bills and energy bills are continuing to push too many people into poverty.

"And to ensure that there is a smooth transition and no cliff edge for tenants when the cap runs out, by March 2024, the government needs to have introduced rent controls that bring down rents, bring up quality standards and are tied to the property not the tenancy.

"Until then, these emergency protections will go a long way in ensuring that tenants are able to stay in their homes and not face sky-high rent increases as the cost of living continues to hit hard."