A cap on private rents is set to be extended for at least another six months but it will allow for increases of up to 3 per cent, it has been confirmed. 

Currently, private and social rents are capped at 0% - effectively a freeze - but this is due to change after the end of March.

From April 1 until September 30, private landlords will be able to increase rents but only by 3% unless they can meet defined and limited circumstances. 

Tenants rights' minister Patrick Harvie said the limited increases "recognise that costs have been rising for landlords too" but that they are capped below inflation and limited to once per 12 months.

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A ban on the enforcement of evictions has also been extended except in a number of specified circumstances.

Tenants rights' minister Patrick Harvie said: "Our emergency legislation has helped protect tenants facing the cost of living crisis.

"With many households still struggling with bills, it is clear that these protections are still needed to give tenants greater confidence about their housing costs and the security of a stable home. 

“While the primary purpose of the legislation is to support tenants, I recognise that costs have been rising for landlords too.

"That’s why we intend to allow those in the private sector to increase rents by up to 3%, with a continued safeguard allowing them to apply for larger increases to cover specified rising costs they might be seeing as landlords."

Nevertheless, the ban on social rent increases will be lifted from April after the Scottish Government reached an agreement with landlords – such as councils and housing associations – to keep rises below inflationary levels of 11.1%.

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Campaigning groups have accused the government of "throwing social tenants under the bus" after ensuring lower rises for private renters.

Ruth Gilbert, a spokesperson for Living Rent, emphasises that social tenants are "among the most vulnerable to increases in costs".

She said: "This announcement shows clearly that the rent freeze was never meant to support social tenants.

"The government has thrown social tenants under the bus. The government needs to recognise that we are still in an emergency situation and tenants are facing crisis after crisis.

"Soaring energy bills and food bills combined with stagnant wages and now rent increases is a perfect storm for tenants. 

"The government is letting social landlords increase rent by up to 11%.

She added that "63% of social households do not have the savings to cover next month's rent" and that any increase in rents will have a "huge impact" on tenants. 

The campaigning group argues that the 3% cap on private rents "ignores the fundamental problem that rent was already completely unaffordable" before the initial freeze was put in place last year. 

Meanwhile, the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations welcomed the changes to the emergency legislation.

Chief executive Sally Thomas said a rent freeze would have removed "more than £200 million of investment from building new social homes, maintaining existing ones and helping people in their tenancies".