Property providers have raised concerns over permanent rent controls in the new SNP and Green administration Housing Bill published this week.

While welcomed by tenant representatives and praised for its aim of reducing homelessness and improving rights, real estate experts have warned that "the Bill in its current form will worsen the housing crisis".

The responses to the proposals this week signalled the Bill will face challenges as it moves through Parliament.

Aditi Jehangir, of campaign group Living Rent, said the Bill "is a huge step forward for tenants", adding: "It includes key measures that we have been fighting for such as rent controls that apply between tenancy, the ability to cap increases at 0%, rights for joint tenants to leave and the right to have pets and redecorate."

Rettie, the estate agent and consultancy, said that the Bill "unless it undergoes significant amendments, is unlikely to provide any substantial assistance in solving the housing crisis in Scotland, which is predominantly one of supply and availability".

The Herald: Four councils - Glasgow, Edinburgh, Argyll and Bute and Fife - have declared a housing emergency in recent months.Four councils - Glasgow, Edinburgh, Argyll and Bute and Fife - have declared a housing emergency in recent months. (Image: Getty Images)

Rettie also said: "Enhancing tenants’ rights is a laudable objective and there will be parts of the Bill that will be widely supported.

"But the imposition of rent controls within and between tenancies may make the private rental sector un-investable for some, not just the small landlords who provide that vast majority of private rental housing stock in Scotland, but the large investors (including pension funds) that want to invest in Scotland but cannot do so in a climate of uncertainty and inability to guarantee index-linked returns.

"In short, by squeezing supply yet further, the Bill in its current form will worsen the housing crisis."

READ MORE: SNP, Green homes law does ‘incalculable damage’ to economy

It was also revealed this week that the number of new homes built in Scotland fell by 11% last year, at 20,992, and the number of houses started showed a drop of 24%, to 16,017.

John Boyle, director of research and strategy at Rettie, said: “Recent work, completed by Rettie and The Diffley Partnership for Homes for Scotland, showed that close to 700,000 households in Scotland are in housing need. This number can only rise in subsequent years if not addressed properly with a coherent strategy to boost supply.”

Paul McLennan, Housing Minister, said: "Early action, through the kinds of measures included in the Housing Bill, results in fewer people reaching the point of housing crisis."

Patrick Harvie, Tenants’ Rights Minister, said: "A fairer, well-regulated rented sector is good for both tenants and landlords. Tenants benefit from improved conditions and security, while good responsible landlords will thrive when their good practice is recognised by regulation."

Also this week, business editor Ian McConnell looks to energy action as he writes: "You would imagine many people might disagree completely with energy regulator Ofgem’s assertion this week that the price cap for household electricity and gas has 'worked well to protect customers'."

Shares in Direct Line dropped by nearly 16% at one stage this week, business correspondent Kristy Dorsey reports, after Belgian suitor Ageas said it is no longer interested in making a bid for the UK's second-largest motor insurer.

Deputy business editor Scott Wright asks why closing time is coming earlier than ever for pubs in his column. "A report in a tabloid newspaper this week revealed that some pubs in England are closing as early as 8pm because it is simply not financially viable to stay open any later," he writes.