Scottish Greens back Citizens’ Assembly’s call for rent controls
The Scottish Greens have echoed calls from the Citizens’ Assembly for the introduction of rent controls to combat “inflation-busting rent rises” across Scotland.
The Citizens’ Assembly threw its weight behind calls for tenant protections in its latest report published earlier this month which shared 60 recommendations for Scotland’s future.
In the report, the Citizens’ Assembly “recommends that in order to overcome the challenges in relation to affordable and quality housing the Scottish Government and Parliament should: work with councils and other stakeholders, including tenant associations (such as Living Rent), to implement rent caps across the country, give all young people entitlement to affordable social housing, simplify the information available to young people about welfare support for housing, strictly enforce rules for landlords including housing associations, to maintain good quality repair of housing, and make buying property more accessible”.
The Scottish Greens have long advocated protections for renters and the report has prompted Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie MSP to renew calls for the introduction of meaningful measures, including rent controls, beyond the current crisis.
Mr Harvie said: “The Scottish Government has failed to adequately protect tenants as rents have rapidly outstripped inflation over the last decade.
“Throughout the pandemic Greens have pushed ministers to protect renters and we have made substantial progress; securing the introduction and then extension of a winter eviction ban as well as a tenant hardship fund.
“While it’s essential that emergency measures are in place, we must also look at how tenants can be supported longer term too. Scotland is decades behind many of our European neighbours when it comes to tenants’ rights. Protections like winter evictions bans and rent controls are commonplace across the continent.
“It’s great that the Citizens’ Assembly has included a call for rent controls in its report. There is clear recognition from the group of the urgent need for government to address the challenges faced by tenants, including the lack of affordable social housing available to young people.
“The timid action previously introduced by the Scottish Government, in the shape of rent pressure zones, has proven to be useless. Not one council has been able to implement a rent pressure zone due to the burdensome bureaucracy involved.
“It’s time that the Scottish Government took the positive action that is so obviously necessary and empowered local government to introduce rent controls.”
Housing minister Kevin Stewart said: “We have already introduced a range of significant reforms.”