Patrick Harvie has defended plans for rent controls, saying landlords “who take a pride in offering high-quality homes at a fair price” have “nothing to worry about.”

The Scottish Government’s new housing Bill - published last week - would, if passed, see local authorities tasked with carrying out regular assessments on the state of the local private rented sector.

They would then make recommendations to ministers about the imposition of rent controls, which could cap prices for tenants.

It would also see rent rises capped during and between tenancies and introduce new rights for tenants to keep pets and decorate their homes.

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The Scottish Association of Landlords have hit out at the plans, saying they will force people to sell up or cut back on investing in their property.

Recent figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that Scotland has seen the highest rent increases of any UK nation.

That is despite ministers introducing temporary legislation in 2022 which capped rents in a bid to address the cost of living crisis.

The data showed that average private rents increased in by 10.9% in Scotland, 8.8% in England and 9% in Wales.

The New Deal for Tenants is a key part of the Bute House Agreement between the Scottish Government and the Scottish Green Party.

Speaking to the BBC’s Sunday Show, the Scottish Green co-leader Mr Harvie said a long-term framework is needed to encourage good behaviour by landlords.

He said: “Those landlords who take a pride in offering high quality homes at a fair price, looking after the wellbeing of their tenants, should have nothing to worry about from these proposals.

“But those who want to price gouge have to recognise that that kind of practice is going to come to an end.”

READ MORE: SNP, Green homes Bill ‘will worsen housing crisis’ warning

Mr Harvie also said housebuilding should be focused on “social need” rather than constructing expensive houses to “maximise profit”.

He was pressed on comments from Jane Wood of the housebuilding industry body Homes for Scotland, who attacked cuts to the Scottish Government’s housing budget.

Mr Harvie said: “The long-term track record of the Scottish Government on building affordable housing is significantly better than other parts of the UK. We want to continue that.

“If Westminster cuts our capital budget, it clearly, inevitably, has a knock-on consequence, a harmful consequence, in what we can invest in Scotland.”