Katy Clark said rents have “spiked dramatically” in recent years and are now increasing again at “the worst possible time”.
The Scottish Government is consulting on plans to introduce a national system of rent controls for the private sector by 2025.
But Ms Clark, who represents the West Scotland region and is also a Labour peer, said tenants “cannot wait”, pointing to record levels of inflation and rent hikes.
She has drafted a motion to the Scottish Parliament which points to statistics showing rents rising well above inflation.
The MSP said: “Rents have spiked dramatically in recent years and are now being hiked yet again at the worst possible time. Tenants cannot wait until 2025 for rent controls.
“The average person renting is now spending a disproportionate amount of income on rent.
“The UK Government is clearly not doing enough on cost of living, but housing and rental law are devolved. The Scottish Government therefore urgently needs to act.”
Her motion calls for “an emergency rent freeze for all public and private sector renters” over “a determined period”.
It came as it was announced rising energy prices are to be the subject of a short “snapshot” inquiry in the Scottish Parliament.
Holyrood’s net zero, energy and transport committee will focus primarily on short and medium-term solutions to high energy prices, longer-term structural solutions, and the role the Scottish Government will play in implementing these.