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The Scottish government has published plans to introduce longer-term rent controls for the private sector.

The Housing (Scotland) Bill will place a duty on local councils to carry out assessments on the state of private accommodation in their area.

The bill - which comes against the backdrop of four local authorities declaring a housing emergency - has been welcomed by tenants' rights groups.

But the Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL) has said the legislation would exacerbate Scotland’s housing crisis.

The bill does not specify particular controls which could be placed on landlords, though it does say that rises would be capped during and in-between tenancies.

If passed, it will also introduce new rights for tenants to keep pets and decorate their homes.

The bill comes at a time of increased concern about the state of housing across Scotland.

Four councils - Argyll and Bute, Edinburgh, Fife and Glasgow have declared a "housing emergency".

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

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