Maggie Chapman, social justice spokesperson for the Scottish Greens and MSP candidate for the North-east, today (Wed 17 Feb) stepped up calls for action on the cost of renting a home, as a new poll revealed most Scots support a points-based system of rent controls.

Following pressure from Green MSP Patrick Harvie's Rent Rights campaign, the Living Rent campaign, and other groups, the Scottish Government agreed that its Housing (Private Tenancies) Bill would include the ability to introduce rent controls but only for what it called pressured areas. 

Patrick Harvie and Maggie Chapman will today (Wed) highlight the issue as they meet house-hunters in Aberdeen.

Last October, Scottish Green Party conference agreed a motion from Maggie Chapman on a points-based system of rent controls, which would allow all local authorities to regulate the cost of renting, taking into account the quality, size and location of a property.

A new poll of 1,000 Scots commissioned by the Scottish Greens shows that almost 54 per cent of people support such a system, compared to 12 per cent who oppose. 

Maggie Chapman, social justice spokesperson for the Scottish Greens and MSP candidate for the North-east, said:

"Better housing is a fundamental part of a better society. We must secure affordable, well maintained homes for all if we are to improve people's health and well being, and have a fairer, more equal economy. Across Scotland, we see rent increases outstripping household income. These increases make housing unaffordable in many of our cities and also in rural hot spots. We must put in place rent controls that will return rents to affordable levels.

"We also must crack down on bad landlords. We need, urgently, to properly regulate letting agents. Private tenants should never face the prospect of eviction simply for raising concerns about poor quality housing."

Patrick Harvie MSP, Co-convener of the Scottish Greens, said:

"Rent controls in draft legislation is a great example of influence exerted by Scottish Greens at Holyrood, and as last week's amendments show, we are helping strengthen the Bill. Although the Scottish Government has listened and gone some way to addressing the issue, it is vital that they go further.

"Scotland can provide affordable homes for all and Scottish Greens will keep up the pressure to make it happen. We need to build more homes and our proposals for taxing derelict land would generate hundreds of millions of pounds to invest in that; but we also need to respond to the huge growth we've seen in the private rented sector to bring it back to being an affordable option."

The poll of 1,033 Scots was carried out by Survation in January and asked this question with the following results:

Over the last five years, the cost of renting a property in Scotland has risen faster than wages. Some people support a points-based system of “rent control” where the government can set rents at a level based on the quality, size, location and facilities in the property and limit the rate at which rents can increase, arguing this would make renting more affordable for tenants. Other people oppose “rent control”, arguing this would lead to shortages of properties landlords were willing to rent. Would you support or oppose proposals for the government in introduce a points-based “rent control” system in the UK?

Strongly support 21.2%
Somewhat support 32.6%
Neither support nor oppose 22.4%
Somewhat oppose 7.3%
Strongly oppose 4.8%
Don't know 11.7%