PRIVATE tenants in the Wee County are being urged to know their rights before the emergency rent cap and evictions protections end next month.

The temporary rent cap and eviction moratorium protections brought in by the Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) Act 2022 will no longer apply from April 1.

Until then, any rent increases notices must still comply with the current cap of three per cent and three months' notice will need to be given on any increases proposed after.

Thousands could be affected as the latest figures estimate there are around 2,420 privately rented dwellings across Clackmannanshire, accounting for 9.7 per cent of homes in the area.

Scottish ministers are keen to highlight, as part of an awareness raising campaign which kicked off in Clacks, that tenants have the right to ask for a review of a rent increase.

There are also protections against illegal evictions or when being asked to leave a property without proper notice.

On a visit to Clackmannanshire Citizens Advice Bureau (Clacks CAB), Patrick Harvie, tenants' rights minister, said: “Our emergency legislation has led the way in the UK in capping most in-tenancy rent increases, protecting tenants across Scotland from the worst impacts of the cost-of-living crisis.

“The emergency nature of the legislation, which was approved by parliament, means the rent cap cannot be extended beyond March 31.

“But tenants still have significant rights from before the emergency act, and we have made use of powers to make sure any rent rises are more manageable.

“Subject to parliamentary approval, the system of checking rent rises will be adjusted from April 1 so that rents are not simply jumping to market levels in all cases in one step.

“I would encourage anyone who is currently renting or about to enter the rental market to check the rights that exist to protect them from unfair practices.”

During the visit to Clacks CAB, the minister also discussed the SafeDeposits Scotland funded Clackmannanshire Landlord & Tenant Advice Mediation & Support Service.

The CAB, which thanked Mr Harvie for his interest and time, was also able to showcase its e-bikes funded by the Energy Saving Trust, used to delivery outreach and home visit services.

Emma Jackson, spokesperson for Citizens Advice Scotland, added: “It’s so important that people understand their rights around private rents once the rent cap ends.

“If you think your landlord has put up the rent by too much after April 1 you can apply to Rent Service Scotland to see if it is a fair rise.

“The reality is the cost-of-living crisis has left a lot of people struggling to afford essential bills like energy and rent, and the Citizens Advice network can help with broader advice to increase how much money you have coming in each month or cutting bills.”