A CALL has been made for a freeze in rents in Scotland which have soared by up to 25% in a year raising new cost of living crisis concerns.

New analysis has shown that high demand and low supply have pushed up Scottish rents on average by 10% in a year at the end of June to an all time high of £970 a month.

The residential estate agency Citylets has said it is reasonable to assume on the current trajectory the average property to rent in Scotland will soon exceed £1000 for the first time.

Its study of rents for April to June reveals the biggest rent rises in Scotland's four major cities have come in Dundee where a three bedroom property now costs £1,078 a month - a rise of 24.5%. Typical home rents have gone up by 15.3% - the steepest increase in Scotland's major cities.

Citylets has said that stock levels in Scotland private rented sector are at a "historic low".

Eilidh Finlayson of property management company Finlayson Gore said of the situation in Dundee: "We are hopeful that rents will remain at their current levels in the quarter to come despite rising fuel and food costs, and as such we will be very carefully monitoring affordability for tenants with all new tenancies to minimise financial risk to our landlords."

In Edinburgh rents have shot up by 15.1% in a year, with a typical property now costing £1283 a month.

The Scottish Tenants Organisation has called on the Scottish Government to introduce a rent freeze and implement a ban on evictions in the wake of the "excessive" rises in the midst of the cost of living crisis.

"The Scottish Government if it truly wants to help vulnerable tenants during the cost of living crisis given that real wages and social security benefits are below the the rate of inflation have to implement an immediate rent freeze for the next two years and also implement a ban on evictions," the STO said.

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It comes as the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) called for a cost-of-living support boost worth at least £1,500 for families with children if the energy market regulator Ofgem raises the bills price cap from £1,971 now to £3,554 in October, and again to £4,650 in January, as tipped by analysts.

And the consumer organisation Which? has warned the Government must raise its energy bills discount by at least 150% or risk pushing millions of households into financial distress.

Around Scotland's towns and suburbs, the highest monthly rents for a two-bed property are to be found in Merchiston in south west Edinburgh (£1345), St Andrews, Fife (£1333), Hillhead, Glasgow (£1208) and Broughton, Peeblesshire (£1131). The cheapest are to be found in Brechin (£502), Dumfries (£516), Kilmarnock (£517), Forfar (£532), Arbroath (£533) and Cumbernauld (£534).

Adrian Sangster of Aberdein Considine estate agents said: “Tenant demand continues to outweigh supply in all Scottish cities, resulting in increased rents and shortening TTL [time to let]. Long-term landlords exiting the sector, coupled with tenants staying longer, are contributing to this imbalance. However, as Einstein said - “in the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity”. I believe this opportunity is open to new investor landlords who, if they buy the right properties in the right area, can expect decent yields and return on investment."

Citylets said "unprecedented" rent rises in Scotland's capital meant finding property to rent remained "very challenging". It said: "It is hard to see matters improving substantively for tenants over 2022. The turnaround in Edinburgh’s private rented sector fortunes from oversupply to undersupply seems complete."

In Glasgow rents have risen by 13% with the typical home to rent now at £997 a month.

Sean Clerkin campaign co-ordinator for the STO added: "There can be no further prevarication. Action has to be taken now.

"This shows that landlords are helping to exacerbate and reinforce inflation with these landlords charging excessive rents."

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The Scottish Government recognises the enormous pressures that many households are facing right now and that includes instances where people are faced with big rises in rents.

“For tenants with a private residential tenancy, there are strict legal processes a private sector landlord must follow to increase rent, including only being able to raise once a year and providing three months’ notice, and tenants have rights to challenge any unfair rises. Many tenants have used those rights and we are committed to making sure that all tenants know how to use them.

“For evictions, landlords can only take action for specific reasons and following a specific process and we have recently strengthened the law to give tenants more protection against eviction.

“Just this week we published responses to our New Deal for Tenants proposals which show how much interest there is in delivering improvements for tenants including robust rent controls giving long-lasting benefit to tenants.”