Consultation to be launched on ‘Mary Barbour Law’ on private renting

Pauline McNeill MSP

Scottish Labour’s proposed plans to introduce a ‘Mary Barbour Law’ to protect people renting in the private sector will be put out for public consultation within weeks.

The proposals include introducing a new points-based system to enforce fair rents. It would also see rents linked to average wages to ensure they are affordable, give tenants the power to challenge unfair rents or submit rent reduction claims and ensure that all private rented properties meet proper standards for health and safety and energy efficiency.

Rules on restricting rent increases to once every 12 months was a key part of the Scottish Government’s Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act, which came in force on December 1.

However Labour said the Mary Barbour law would regulate the private rented sector to ensure that no one is “forced to rent a home that pushes them into poverty”.

The Party’s housing spokesperson, Pauline McNeill MSP, who drawing up a Member’s Bill, said: “Richard Leonard announced at our conference earlier this month that Scottish Labour would bring forward a Mary Barbour Law to radically change the private rented sector in Scotland, and the ball is already rolling.

“I have framed the proposal as a Member’s Bill and I am working with the Scottish Parliament’s Non-Governmental Bill Unit to make sure Labour can bring about the transformation in the private rental sector that is so badly needed.

“We know that private sector rents are rising way above inflation while people’s wages and household incomes are either stagnant or falling, making housing even more expensive and pushing people further into poverty.”

Once the Bill is declared competent by the NGBU, a consultation on its terms will be launched.

Pauline McNeill added: “There is a housing crisis in Scotland. There is a lack of affordable public housing and so people are forced to rent privately and as a result are paying rip-off rents which stops them saving for a deposit to buy their own home.

“Rent controls are vital to stop this happening and to give people hope that they can have secure, affordable tenancies.”

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