Blog: The private tenancies bill: one step closer to genuine security of tenure?
As the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Bill moves at a pace through the infrastructure and capital investment committee, James Battye, policy officer at Shelter Scotland, discusses how things will change for the 330,000 households renting from private landlords across Scotland.
Encouragingly, we’ve seen broad support for increasing security of tenure on the committee and some carefully considered recommendations seeking to improve the draft legislation.
How has the bill changed?
At stage 2 the committee considered a whopping 198(!) amendments to the bill, many of which introduce significant changes to the bill:
Is this enough to deliver protection from arbitrary eviction?
So, some positive movement on the grounds for possession, the initial period and the ground for eviction for rent arrears. But does this go far enough to ensure genuine security of tenure for private tenants? From our perspective, not quite yet.
To ensure that real stability and certainty for families, young renters and those living in the sector long-term is introduced by this legislation the bill needs further scrutiny between now and stage 3. In particular the Scottish Government should:
There is, then, some way to go.
Would this be a huge step-change in private renting? Yes, of course it would. But we need to see the sector primarily as a provider of homes as the demographics of private renters in Scotland change and expectations shift. To have an ever-growing sector with insecure and shaky tenancy rights justified by the need to prop up individuals’ investments would be bad for tenants, and the feeling of disempowerment among so many of today’s private renters will only persist.
This is our chance to get that right: we need to make sure this bill delivers the step-change so sorely needed for the thousands of private renters across Scotland who can’t confidently say they have absolute certainty that they can stay in their homes for as long as they need.