Rise in complaints about private sector housing conditions
Over 6,000 people - an increase of 23 per cent over the past two years - contacted Citizens Advice Scotland in 2015 to report problems with their landlords and with poor housing in the private rented sector.
Figures published by CAS today show multiple cases of landlords failing to meet their legal responsibilities, refusing to do basic repairs and bullying or intimidating their tenants.
There were 6,230 cases in 2014/15 related to problems with private rented sector housing conditions and private rented sector landlords, up from 5,054 in 2012/13.
Now the advice service is calling on the sector to clean up its act, and urging tenants to stand up for their rights and challenge unacceptable landlord behaviour.
CAS housing spokesman Patrick Hogan said: “The figures we are publishing today are a shocking insight into the worst corners of the private rented sector in Scotland. While most private landlords are responsible and doing right by their tenants, our evidence shows there are far too many who are not.
“In today’s economy many Scots can’t afford to buy their own home, and yet there is not enough affordable social housing for rent. So many find themselves in the private rented sector – often paying higher rents than they can easily afford. This makes it more important than ever that standards are maintained at an acceptable level. Yet Scotland’s CAB advisers are seeing 24 cases every working day where lousy landlords are letting their tenants down.
“The specific case evidence is even more shocking. We regularly see incidents of poor quality housing, dampness and condensation, poor electrical wiring and un-safe appliances not being repaired with landlords too often responding to complaints by harassing, threatening and bullying.
“In publishing this evidence, we are calling on Local Authorities and the Scottish Government to re-double their efforts to monitor the private rented sector and crackdown on those who are giving it a bad name. We also call on all landlords to make sure they are doing right by their tenants.
“But we also have a message today for private sector tenants: Make sure you know what your rights are, and don’t put up with un-acceptable behaviour from your landlord. If you are being treated unfairly, you are not alone and help is available. We are publishing (below) a basic guide to private sector tenant’s rights. But if you want to challenge your landlord, your first step is to get advice. And as ever, your local CAB is ready to help you.”