The Scottish Green party has today agreed to campaign for a better deal for private tenants in Scotland. The campaign will include a demand for rent controls.
The campaign was agreed by democratic vote. Co-convenor of the party, Maggie Chapman proposed the motion which highlights the need to tackle increasing rents. At present many tenants struggle to make ends meet and high rents and insecure tenancies have an enormous social cost, including costs associated with homelessness and housing benefit.
The campaign calls for initial rents to be set against a points based system that would reflect the value of the property. Rent will be capped through a rent affordability index, and there will be a move to indefinite tenancies by default. The campaign also calls for a hardship defence to be introduced for tenants subject to eviction, and for the creation of a Scottish Living Rent Commission.
The move from the Scottish Greens comes days after the Scottish Government introduced The Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Bill, which proposes to give local authorities the ability to apply for limited rent control provisions.
"Scotland is in the midst of a housing crisis, and tenants in the private rented sector are hit hardest. Housing is a human right, not a luxury, and rapidly rising rent levels are clear evidence that the private sector has failed to provide decent, secure homes for all.
"Rent around Scotland has risen above inflation and much faster than wages. This has pushed many tenants into poverty, while landlords' profit margins are increasing. It is a situation that is both unacceptable and unsustainable.
"I'm proud that the Scottish Green conference has agreed to continue campaign for fairer rent. We are, of course, indebted to the great work of the Living Rent Campaign and others, who have pushed the Scottish Government to propose controls on local rent levels. This is the right starting point, but we still have a long way to go to make sure Scotland's tenants are properly protected, and the Greens will work hard to achieve this."