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    Rent increases for private residential tenancies

    A specific procedure must be followed when a landlord wants to increase the rent in a private residential tenancy. The rent may only be increased in accordance with the legislation.

    Tenants can challenge a rent increase by referring it to a rent officer. The rent officer's decision can be appealed at the First Tier Tribunal.

    This content applies to Scotland

    The new rent adjudication process for private tenancies

    The Scottish Government has introduced new rules for rent increases for some private tenancies starting on 1 April 2024. [1]

    Any rent increase notices issued before this were subject to the rent cap whilst it was in place. Check our advice on the rent cap.

    How much rents can be increased

    If a tenant challenges a rent increase, a rent officer or tribunal will determine the permitted rent increase for the tenancy.

    The maximum possible increase is either 6% or 12%, but in many cases it will be lower than this. While the regulations are in force, the rent officer or tribunal cannot set the rent higher than the landlord's proposed increase.

    The permitted increase depends on the percentage gap between:

    • the current rent

    • the open market rent

    If the gap is 6% or less, the rent can be increased up to the open market rent.

    If the gap is more than 6%, the increase will be calculated using a formula that keeps the rent under the open market rent. This can be up to a maximum of 12%.

    Use the rent increase calculator on to estimate how much the rent could be increased.

    Rent increase notices sent before 1 April 2024

    If the rent cap applied, a rent increase notice sent before 1 April 2024 could be a maximum of:

    • 3% if the landlord sent a valid rent increase notice

    • 6% if the landlord applied to Rent Service Scotland

    Rent increase procedures

    The landlord must serve a Rent-increase Notice that:

    • is in the prescribed form

    • states the rent that will be payable when the notice takes effect

    • states the day on which the increase is to take effect – this must be at least 3 months after the date the notice is received by the tenant

    This procedure can only be used at 12-month intervals. It cannot be used within 12 months of the date a new increased rent took effect, either by virtue of a previous application of this procedure, or by agreement between the landlord and tenant. [2]

    During the period of the notice and before the proposed new rent is due to take effect, the tenant and landlord can negotiate a different rent.

    Challenging a rent increase

    To challenge the proposed rent increase, a tenant can refer it to a rent officer by applying to Rent Service Scotland. [3]

    This must be done within 21 days of the receipt of the Rent-increase Notice.

    The rent officer must determine the rent payable as the lowest of:

    • the landlord's proposed rent

    • the open market rent

    • the permitted rent according to the rent adjudication formula [4]

    The rent officer must then issue a provisional order stating the rent which the rent officer proposes, including any sum attributable to services. [5]

    Both landlord and tenant have 14 days from the date this is issued to request a reconsideration. If this is requested, the rent officer must reconsider before making the final order.

    The rent officer will then issue an order stating the rent payable from the effective date.

    The effective date is either: [6]

    • where there is 14 or more days until the date the original increase was due, then the original date still applies

    • where there is less than 14 days until the date the original increase was due, then the effective date is next rent date falling 14 days after the rent officer’s decision

    The rent officer may, within 14 days of the final order, remake it for the purposes of correcting any errors. [7]

    How open market rents are determined

    A rent officer or tribunal can determine an open market rent by comparing the property with those of a similar type in the vicinity. The legislation tells the decision maker to consider that the property in question would be let ‘by a willing landlord to a hypothetical willing tenant’ and that it: [8]

    • would be a private residential tenancy

    • beginning on the date the rent would have been increased

    • under the same terms as the tenancy in question

    The following must be disregarded:

    • any positive effect on the rental value of the tenant’s or previous tenant’s improvements

    • any negative effect on the rental value caused by the tenant failing to comply with terms of the tenancy

    Rent officer and tribunal rent decisions must be made publicly available along with details of the rents they have considered when making decisions: [9]

    Appeals to the First Tier Tribunal

    Where either the landlord or tenant are unhappy with the rent set by the rent officer they may appeal to the First Tier Tribunal Housing and Property Chamber. [10]

    The appeal must be made within 14 days of the date the order is made.  

    The application can be made on Form H and it must state: [11]

    • the name, address and registration number (if any) of the tenant or landlord

    • the name, address and profession of any representative of the tenant or landlord

    • the name and address of the other party to the private residential tenancy

    • the reason why the applicant is appealing against the rent officer’s order

    It must be accompanied by:

    • a copy of the rent officer’s order

    • a copy of the Rent-increase Notice

    And be signed a dated by the tenant or landlord or their representative.

    Effect of the tribunal determination

    The tribunal must determine the open market rent and the rent payable according to the rent adjudication formula, and will make an order stating the amount payable and the effective date. [12] The effective date is:

    • where the tribunal makes its order on or before the original effective date, then the original effective date; or

    • the first payment date falling on or after the day on which the tribunal order is made.

    Liability for over or underpaid rent

    The timing of the decision may mean that the matter is not resolved until after the original proposed date for the rent increase.  

    The legislation sets down who is liable for any under or over payments: [13]

    • if the new rent is less than the old rent then the landlord is liable to recompense the tenant for any over-payment accrued during the period of challenge

    • if the new rent is more than the old rent then the tenant must pay this shortfall to the landlord

    The tenant has 28 days from the effective date to make good any liability. If they fail to do so, any liability not yet repaid can be considered as arrears.

    While awaiting the outcome of any challenge, tenants should put an amount covering the increase aside in case they are liable for the increased rent.

    Reviews and appeals

    The right to review the tribunal decision is limited to where there is a need to correct a minor error in the order.

    There is no right to appeal to the Upper Tribunal in private residential rent determination cases. [14]

    Last updated: 10 April 2024


    • [1]

      The Rent Adjudication (Temporary Modifications) (Scotland) Regulations 2024

    • [2]

      s.22(1) Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016 and s.3 of The Private Residential Tenancies (Prescribed Notices and Forms) (Scotland) Regulations 2017 - SSI 2017/297

    • [3]

      s.24 Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016

    • [4]

      The Rent Adjudication (Temporary Modifications) (Scotland) Regulations 2024

    • [5]

      s.26 Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016

    • [6]

      s.25(2) Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016

    • [7]

      s.27 Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016

    • [8]

      s.32 Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016

    • [9]

      s.34 Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016

    • [10]

      s.28(1) Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016

    • [11]

      para.108 First Tier Tribunal for Scotland Housing and Property Chamber (Procedure) Regulations 2017 - SSI 2017/328

    • [12]

      s.29 Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016

    • [13]

      s.31. Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016

    • [14]

      s.30 Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016