Your housing rights in the cost of living crisis

The rent cap for private tenants

If you rent from a private landlord or letting agent, there’s a limit on how much your rent can be increased. This is called a rent cap.

Your landlord can increase the rent by:

  • up to 3% if they send you a valid rent increase notice

  • up to 6% if they apply to Rent Service Scotland

The rent cap applies until 31 March 2024.

Check if the rent cap applies to you

The rent cap applies to you if you have either:

The rent cap also applies if you have a mid-market rent from a council or housing association.

When the rent cap does not apply

  • you have a Scottish secure tenancy with a council or housing association

  • you live with your landlord

  • you live in college or university halls or other purpose-built student accommodation

  • you have another type of common law tenancy

  • your tenancy started before 1989, called a regulated tenancy

  • you have an assured or short assured tenancy with a rent increase process written into the contract

If you're not sure what type of tenancy you have, use our tenancy checker.

If you get a rent increase notice

This will only be valid if:

  • your rent has not been increased in the last year

  • the increase is no more than 3% of your current rent

  • the notice follows the rent increase rules for your tenancy type

If you have a private residential tenancy, your landlord must give you 3 months’ notice. For example, if they sent the notice on 1 July 2023, the rent increase can only start from 1 October 2023.

Check if a rent increase notice is valid

If you think the rent increase is too high

You can apply to Rent Service Scotland. A rent officer will confirm how much the rent can be increased for your tenancy.

You must tell your landlord you’re applying. If you have a private residential tenancy, fill in part 3 of the rent increase notice and return it to your landlord.

The form to apply to Rent Service Scotland depends on your tenancy type:

If your landlord applies to Rent Service Scotland

They can do this if they have an increase in costs related to the tenancy. For example, if their mortgage interest payments have gone up.

They must tell you in writing that they are applying and give you information about the increased costs.

A rent officer can agree to a maximum increase of:

  • 3% if your landlord gave you notice before 1 April 2023

  • 6% if your landlord gave you notice on or after 1 April 2023

The increase can only start 3 months after your landlord submitted the application.

If a rent officer agrees to the increase, they’ll write to both you and your landlord to tell you:

  • how much the new rent will be

  • when you’ll have to start paying the higher rent

If you disagree with the rent officer’s decision

You can appeal to the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber).

Download Form K from the tribunal's website and send it by post or email.

If you got a rent increase notice during the rent freeze

There was a rent freeze between these dates:

  • 6 September 2022 until 31 March 2023, if you rent from a private landlord and letting agent

  • 6 September 2022 until 25 February 2023, if you rent from the council or a housing association

  • 28 October until 30 March 2023, if you live in college or university halls or purpose-built student accommodation

Most rent increase notices sent between these dates will not be valid. Your landlord must send you a new notice on or after 1 April 2023.

Your landlord could apply to Rent Service Scotland to increase the rent during the freeze. In this case, a rent officer should have written to you with details of the permitted rent increase.

Last updated: 20 September 2023

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

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