Scotland needs rent controls

Inflation busting rent rises across Scotland show the urgent need for the introduction of rent controls, Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie MSP has said.

The Scottish Greens have long advocated protections for renters and have successfully challenged the Scottish Government to introduce and then extend a winter eviction ban during the pandemic. The Citizens’ Assembly of Scotland has now thrown its weight behind calls for tenant protections [2] which has prompted Mr Harvie renew calls for the introduction of meaningful measures, including rent controls, beyond the current crisis.

Patrick Harvie MSP 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.”