Govan Law Centre annual report details year’s successes

Mike Dailly

Govan Law Centre (GLC) has published its annual report detailing its successes in balancing landlords and tenants’ rights in new tenancies legislation as well as the fraught issue of “up front” rent.

In the report, GLC’s principal solicitor, Mike Dailly, sets out the centre’s achievements over the past year.

He writes: “This year we campaigned and suggested progressive amendments to the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Bill. We submitted written evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Stage 1 inquiry on the Bill, and in November our Principal Solicitor gave evidence to the Parliament’s Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. We explained that the aims of the Scottish Government’s Bill were good but there were too many mandatory grounds for landlords to evict tenants. In our view it was the equivalent of giving a tenant a ‘zero hours contract’ on their home.

“The sector falls short of being fit for purpose at present. We supported UNISON Scotland’s proposals for encouraging pension funds to invest in building good quality affordable housing for rent. We made a number of recommendations, many of which were supported by the Committee, and some of which were reflected in Scottish Government amendments to the Bill at Stages 2 and 3. We have since been invited and agreed to join the Scottish Government’s advisory group on the implementation of the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016.”

On the issue of “up front” rent, he explains that GLC called on the Scottish government to “issue statutory guidance to remove this unreasonable barrier.”

In October the centre published a research report entitled “Powerless”, funded by the Big Lottery in Scotland, on the experience of tenants in Scotland’s private rented sector.

Mr Dailly adds: “We searched out and listened to the personal experience of a wide range of tenants in Glasgow’s private rented sector. Our report is their story.

“Their voice represents a common experience which we have no reason to believe is not replicated across Scotland and the UK. Our study revealed that most tenants felt powerless and worried that they have little more than a month’s security of tenure. Learning from their experience, GLC’s report made a number of major law reform, practice and policy recommendations.”

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