Private rented sector Bill must do more for tenants

For immediate release 27 January 2010

The Green MSPs will today vote for the Private Rented Housing (Scotland) Bill at Stage One, (1) but Greens share the view of Shelter and the Local Government and Communities Committee that "more and further-reaching reform will be necessary". The Bill as it stands does improve the system of landlord registration, and eliminates pre-tenancy charges. However, it does not go far enough in some areas - especially around length of tenancy, deposits, and dispute resolution - and would also introduce new problems around overcrowding and planning. More than 250,000 Scottish households live in private rented homes.

Patrick Harvie MSP said:

"Too many tenants in the private rented sector are still putting up with bad practice, weak protections for tenants, and poor access to dispute resolution. Inadequate energy efficiency standards still mean too many people live in cold, expensive and unhealthy homes. Tenants across the country are still waiting for Ministers prepared to take the action required on these issues, and this legislation is clearly too small a step in the right direction.

"At the same time Ministers' existing proposals would introduce some significant new problems around overcrowding and planning, and it is now up to Parliament to try and remedy as many of these problems as possible before the final vote. Where we can, we will work with other parties to improve the legislation and get a fairer deal for the quarter of a million Scots households who rent from private landlords."