TENANTS' rights campaigners have vowed to fight “tooth and nail” for comprehensive rent controls after it was revealed prices had soared above inflation.

Earlier this week, figures published by the Scottish Parliament showed that monthly rental prices across all property sizes had soared between tenancies as landlords hiked up how much tenants must pay in the last year.

Speaking to The National's Holyrood Weekly podcast, Living Rent spokesperson Calum Sanderson said campaigners won't give up the fight to ensure that limits can be imposed on how much landlords can charge.

*Listen to the latest episode of Holyrood Weekly at the bottom of this story*

Rent controls are set to be included in the upcoming Housing Bill, due to be introduced in the current parliamentary term. However, the rent cap, which stops landlords from putting prices in current tenancies up above 3%, or 6% if they apply for an exemption, is due to run out in March 2024.

The emergency legislation was introduced to tackle the cost of living crisis, but landlords have been increasing prices between tenancies, with the cost of a two-bedroom property increasing by 14.3% (£105) to reach an average of £841 per month.

Sanderson, 23, said that the union is determined to fight for rent controls to be introduced before the rent cap runs out.

He told The National’s podcast: “I can guarantee the union will fight tooth and nail on this. We have expended an enormous amount of effort and energy into just getting to that point where the rent cap's in place, and we've got rent control on the table.

The National:

“What we are not going to do is give up the fight at this point, and we need to keep pushing for it.”

He said that while the rent cap has its flaws, the Scottish Government has managed to keep it in place despite opposition and even a failed legal challenge from landlords.

“For them to do all of that, and then at the end of it just allowed this drop off and another year, before we get rent controls where rents fly up, before we actually get any protection would be, I think it'd be very upsetting, more than more than frustrating, it would be very upsetting to see them make an own goal like that,” Sanderson added.

“But we're not the Government, we are the union, and we will fight for it, because we know the reality of what will happen here on that date when that runs out, unless the Government either extends it or starts drafting rent controls now.”

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Asked if he was expecting a pushback from the landlord lobby, such as the heated campaign against the introduction of regulations for short-term lets earlier this year, Sanderson said: “Of course we are, water's wet you know, but we were more than happy and more than tooled up for that fight, I can assure you.

“I think, to be quite frank, as someone that's been a member of the union for two or three years and has done events where I'm interacting with the landlord lobby in various capacity, the ground is moving under their feet at this point.

“The argument of the mass exodus has fallen, the rent cap’s been in place for one year, nearly two years now, there hasn't been a mass exodus.

“In fact, the number of properties on the market are actually increasing.”

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The Scottish Government has committed to introducing long-term rent controls, and is currently consulting on proposals. Local authorities would likely be in charge of assessing their areas to see whether rent controls are needed, with a requirement to reassess conditions mandated by legislation.

Greater Glasgow and Lothian areas have both seen soaring rents since 2010, and have the highest monthly prices than the rest of Scotland. However, it varies across the country, with Dumfries and Galloway having the lowest rental prices.

On what Living Rent’s ideal rent controls would look like, Sanderson said they must be “tied to the property”.

“We cannot continue this measure, this mode of protection, that is so limited in scope, so it has to be tied to the property,” he said.

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“There also needs to be a relationship between the quality of the property and what a landlord can actually charge for it.”

He added that there should be additional moves to reduce rents over time.

“What's the point in building another, you know, a miracle happens and we build 50,000 homes like that, it doesn't actually help us if the people living in those 50,000 homes are struggling or paying just as much as people were when there was a complete lack of homes,” he added.

“So it's about actually being very strong on protecting tenants and setting rent caps.”

The latest episode of Holyrood Weekly, Season 2 Episode 11: Why are Scotland's rent prices so high when there's a cap in place? is available to listen to below, on the Omny streaming platform and Spotify.