Scotland's largest landlord membership organisation is now taking legal advice on a possible legal challenge to controversial new tenant-protection legislation.

The Scottish Government yesterday passed a bill which will see a freeze on the cost of rented housing for private and social tenants and also a moratorium on evictions.

The emergency legislation is for an initial six months, but could be extended for another 12 months.

John Blackwood, chief executive of the Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL), said last night: "The SNP and Greens have put political rhetoric ahead of achieving real improvements in Scotland's housing sector.

"Rushed, ill-thought-out legislation such as eviction bans and a rent increase freeze...are making it harder than ever to be a landlord in Scotland.

"The government is causing, or at the very least exacerbating, a housing crisis.

All options remain open

"While we do finally have details of how the rent-increase freeze and eviction ban will work, we remain in disagreement with this policy and all options remain open, including the potential of legal action."

He added: "SAL is now considering the detail of the bill that has passed and taking legal advice on whether a legal challenge to the legislation has a reasonable prospect of success.

"Obtaining legal opinion on a complex matter like this usually takes several weeks. As soon as that is available, we will notify members of our next steps."

Tenants' Rights Minister Patrick Harvie said the bill would support tenants through the current cost-of-living crisis.

A Holyrood committee had heard some rents had soared by as much as 30%, but landlord representatives said the government's plans would force many of its members to quit the sector.

The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations said a rent freeze in the social housing sector was unnecessary, likely to be counterproductive and should not continue beyond the end of March next year.

Exceptions to rent freeze

There are exceptions to the rent freeze, such as where a landlord faces increased property costs.

Approved amendments included changes to the details needed from landlords to provide evidence of financial hardship, including letters from money advisers or accountants.

The BBC says the legislation, which was approved by 89 votes to 27, also covers student accommodation.

It will be the first bill passed by Holyrood to be given Royal Assent by King Charles III.

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