Tue 9 Jun, 2020

Tenants need a new deal to provide security, as many face rising personal debt and eviction as a result of the coronavirus crisis, the Scottish Greens have said.

In his statement, Cabinet Secretary Michael Russell confirmed a Private Rented Sector Resilience Group will only look at existing emergency laws, not at how to protect tenants in the future. 

Scottish Greens housing spokesperson Andy Wightman has used a parliament debate on how communities will recover from the crisis to propose the introduction of a financial arrangement with credit unions, to ensure certainty and affordability of payment for tenants who have fallen into arrears during this time.

This emergency support would help prevent a spike in evictions, which Mr Wightman warned of in May.

Speaking ahead of the debate, Andy Wightman said:

“Financial insecurity as a result of this crisis cannot be the burden of the most vulnerable.  

“We have a Private Rented Sector Resilience Group, which the Cabinet Secretary confirmed today, but it will only look at what the Scottish Government has already done in emergency laws, not at what is needed to provide tenants with security as we start to build back better from this crisis.

“Tenants need a new deal to ensure their human rights to a home are upheld, not only during the emergency but beyond it as well. Greater security for them also gives greater security for their landlords too.

“I am proposing that the Scottish Government guarantees money loaned via credit unions on the basis of a payment plan agreed between landlords and tenants in order to provide a safety net for tenants as an immediate workable solution and a way to stave off a tidal wave of evictions.

“In the longer term, we need to look against at more legislative protection for tenants, so that people’s right to a home is given the same status as it is in normal European countries.”

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