Glasgow tenants to influence rent reform in city
Glasgow residents will have their say on possible reforms to the private rented sector in the city after councillors agreed that there is a rent crisis.
Glasgow City Council has passed a motion, brought forward by Scottish Greens councillor Christy Mearns, which called for a tenant-led commission to be set up to make recommendations on reforms.
The council will also write to the Scottish Government asking for “urgent assistance” for the private rented sector, including through “effective regulation”, The Evening Times reports.
Ms Mearns said: “Increasing supply, especially of social rented housing, is important, but it’s also clear that regulation of rents in the private sector must also be part of the solution.
“Many cities around the world, including one of Glasgow’s new partnership cities Berlin, are showing how this can be done – extending protections to renters and stopping runaway rent costs.
“Glasgow needs the powers to implement similar measures locally and we are pleased that the city’s tenants now will have a voice in directing the kinds of reforms we want to see.”
The motion was proposed following the council’s failure to establish a rent pressure zone, a form of rent control allowed by the Scottish Government. It has not progressed as the council does not have access to the data required in law before one can be introduced.
Glasgow City Council also said that rents in the city have been rising at “unacceptable levels” after new statistics revealed costs in the private rented sector increased by a “staggering” 41% over the last 10 years.
Kenny McLean, the council’s convener for neighbourhoods, housing and the public realm, said housing supply is a key factor and the Scottish Government is “very much committed to delivering public housing”.
Mr McLean admitted there had been “hurdles” to rent pressure zones, but discussions are ongoing and there is “hope this can be further developed”.
Council leader Susan Aitken agreed “the conditions and the lack of regulation around rents in some parts of the private rented sector in Glasgow are disgraceful”.
But she added: “It’s also important to say that Glasgow remains one of the most affordable cities to live in, in terms of the private rented sector.
“Despite the behaviour of some unscrupulous and exploitative landlords, the private rented sector is an important part of our housing mix.
“It’s the first choice for many, especially younger people who do want to maintain that flexibility of choice.”