KING Charles has been allowed to vet Holyrood legislation freezing rents and banning evictions as it will affect “residential tenancies on His Majesty’s private estates” at Balmoral.

The new monarch has been able to lobby for changes to the Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) (Scotland) Bill under a controversial process known as Crown consent.

The long-standing but obscure mechanism was regularly used by the Queen, however this is the first example of it being deployed by her son.

However what changes - if any - have been made at his request remain a secret. 

The Bill is being put through Holyrood in just three days this week as emergency legislation in order to protect tenants from the worst of the cost of living crisis this winter.

If passed, it will see social, private and student accommodation rents frozen from September 6 to 31 March next year, subject to certain specific exemptions for landlords with extra costs.

It will also create a six month moratorium on evictions, with exemptions for tenants guilty of criminal or anti-social behaviour, or running up excessive arrears.

Landlords will also be able to sell or move into their properties if they face financial hardship.

Private and social landlords have warned the Bill could have unintended consequences, including reducing the supply of homes for rent and worsening homelessness.

The King’s involvement, a legacy of Westminster practice, was confirmed by the Scottish Government in the policy memorandum accompanying the Bill. 

It said Crown Consent is required “where a Scottish Bill impacts the Royal prerogative, the hereditary revenues of the Crown or the personal property or interests of the Sovereign”.

It said: “Crown consent will be required because it is considered that the provisions in the Bill affecting private residential tenancies could affect residential tenancies on His Majesty’s private estates and those on land forming part of the Scottish Crown Estate.”

The Scottish Crown Estate manages land and property previously held by the monarch, but its profits are used by the Scottish Government.

The Guardian newspaper revealed last year that Scottish ministers had given the Queen advance access to at least 67 Bills under Crown Consent since devolution in 1999.

They included laws on planning, property taxation, and a Bill preventing forestry inspectors entering Crown land, including Balmoral, without the Queen’s permission.

After a row about the issue, Holyrood’s Presiding Office, Alison Johnstone, told Scottish ministers to declare if Crown consent affected any Bill at its introduction, rather than admitting the monarch's involvement when the legislation completed its final stage.

The Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) (Scotland) Bill is both the first Bill affected by Ms Johnstone’s ruling and the first to involve the new King.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton, whose party has fought for greater transparency on Crown consent, said the Government’s memo revealed virtually nothing.

He said: “This policy would ensure we still remain utterly in the dark. The Scottish government should instead specifically list any changes made to legislation at the request of the King’s lawyers when it arrives at and goes through parliament.

“Everyone deserves to know how their laws are being made because transparency and scrutiny are pillars of our democracy.”

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar added: ““ think people would expect any democratic system, a system designed for the people and in a representative parliamentary democracy, for these issues all to be out in the open for people to know how decisions are made, why decisions are made and where suggested amendments have come from.”