We need a new approach to provide homes for all and protection for tenants

Housing has been front and centre of the Scottish Green Party’s Holyrood campaign, with bold plans to build 60,000 social rented homes over the coming 5 years, make rent fair and end fuel poverty. With homelessness on the increase, and many homes in Scotland being damp and cold, urgent action is needed to ensure homes provide for people’s needs.

Scottish Greens co-convener Maggie Chapman, the party's housing spokesperson and MSP candidate for the North East, says that she wants to see a much more co-ordinated approach to housing:

“Everyone needs a home, and the current housing system does not deliver this. People are being priced out of decent accommodation because rents are too high and 'affordable housing' is not actually affordable for most. We need a co-ordinated approach to deliver high quality, well-insulated and truly affordable homes for all, and we need better protection for tenants.

“That is why, if elected on Thursday, I will introduce a Housing and Tenants’ Rights Commission non-executive Bill. This Bill would seek to appoint a Housing and Tenants’ Rights Commissioner. In much the same way as the Children and Young People’s Commissioner works to protect the rights of children and young people, the Housing and Tenants’ Rights Commissioner would work to protect the rights of tenants and to secure a more holistic approach to housing.

“The Commissioner would work with tenants, Local Authorities, Housing Associations, housing co-operatives and the private housing sector to develop a Charter of Rights for tenants. He or she would have legal powers to enforce current legislation and develop new laws to promote better conditions for those in houses of multiple occupation (HMOs), deliver energy efficiency and better housing standards, regulate letting agencies and landlords and run a landlord accreditation scheme, and determine rent levels. And the post would oversee and and co-ordinate action on building 60,000 social rented houses over the next five years.

“Homes in Scotland are more expensive, smaller, cost more to heat and are of poorer quality than elsewhere in Europe. That is not good enough. We need our housing system to provide everyone with a secure foundation on which they can build their lives. We must build communities, not just bricks and mortar.”