Glasgow’s Tenant-Led Housing Commission unveils recommendations for private rented sector
The findings and recommendations of Glasgow’s Tenant-Led Housing Commission for the city’s private rented sector have been unveiled.
Established in response to a council motion in December 2020 that stated that ‘Glasgow has a rent crisis for many in the private rented sector’, Glasgow City Council worked with the Tenants Information Service on the Commission, with the Service setting up and supporting the project. Membership of the Commission Board - following an open invitation process - comprised of 11 current and former private rented sector tenants, and six representatives from organisations with experience and expertise in engaging with private sector tenants.
Key aims of the Commission included an examination of how the private rented housing sector in Glasgow meets different needs; gathering evidence through engagement with community and stakeholder groups; and establishing a framework to evaluate leading issues such as affordability, rents, energy efficiency and conditions.
The Commission published 16 recommendations for Glasgow City Council, including:
- Prioritise affordable social housing development across all sites through a review and reform of local planning policy and/or guidance
- Utilise the landlord registration database to communicate and upskill landlords (for example training opportunities) whilst exploring other means to provide guidance and support to landlords not accessing the landlord advice service
- Increase resources and staffing to introduce a proactive approach to property inspections, and subsequent enforcement action, to increase the quality of PRS (private rented sector) housing and standards of management
- Establish a joint network of partnership organisations to maximise property inspections and means of identifying properties that fall below minimum standards
- Establish a tenant-led forum/platform for meaningful engagement with Glasgow’s private rented sector tenants;
- Work with stakeholder organisations to identify opportunities to support and upskill tenants to communicate confidently and influence the housing services they receive;
- Develop and deliver a training programme for stakeholder agencies, focused on identifying and dealing with illegal evictions to encourage intervention and support when required;
- Work with stakeholder agencies to assess existing PRS stock, to determine how many tenants are living in unsuitable accommodation. Thereafter, tenants should be supported, in partnership with stakeholder agencies, to access properties that meet their needs, creating more sustainable tenancies;
- Develop an intermediary register of landlords with adapted, accessible and approved PRS properties to reduce the number of tenants in unsuitable accommodation;
- Recognise the increasing demand for the integral Housing and Welfare PRS Hub and continue to appropriately resource this essential service;
- Expand the current scope of the Hub service to the wider PRS sector to ensure referrals are open to everyone;
- Utilise Enhanced Enforcement Area status and powers in similar areas of high density PRS households as a means of addressing and improving poor quality housing and standards of management;
- Commit resources to the development and establishment of tenants’ and residents’ groups and associations within mixed tenure (for example tenement) housing stock, to proactively communicate and address cyclical maintenance and repairs, as well as nurturing a sense of community;
- Work in partnership with the Scottish Government to introduce a robust and measured approach to a points-based system of rent controls, based on property standard and/or condition, to incentivise landlords to invest in their properties, as a means of justifying rent levels;
- Work in partnership with stakeholder organisations to safeguard students’ welfare and ensure students are not “priced out” of education due to a lack of affordable housing options; and
- Work in partnership with stakeholder organisations to proactively identify and eradicate discriminatory practices across Glasgow’s PRS.
Councillor Kenny McLean, convener for housing at Glasgow City Council, said: “This Commission was established to be led by tenants to address the very real challenges for many of paying rent in the private housing sector. The recommendations made by the Glasgow Tenant-Led Housing Commission look for reforms in areas such as housing supply, conditions and repairs, energy efficiency, rents and affordability. We will continue to work with our partners at a local and national level to do what we can to address these issues.”
The proposals from the commission will inform the development of the new Housing Strategy (2023-28) for Glasgow.