Majority of Scots support points-based rent controls, Green survey reveals

Maggie Chapman
Maggie Chapman

The Scottish Green Party has stepped up its calls for action on the cost of renting a home as a new poll revealed most Scots support a points-based system of rent controls.

The Scottish Government agreed that its Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Bill would include the ability to introduce rent controls but only for what it called rent pressured areas.

Last October, the Scottish Green Party conference agreed a motion from its social justice spokesperson, Maggie Chapman, on a points-based system of rent controls, which would allow all local authorities to regulate the cost of renting, taking into account the quality, size and location of a property.

Now a new survey commissioned by the Scottish Greens has revealed that almost 54 per cent of Scots support such a system, compared to 12 per cent who oppose.

The poll of 1,033 Scots, carried out by Survation in January, asked the following question:

‘Over the last five years, the cost of renting a property in Scotland has risen faster than wages. Some people support a points-based system of “rent control” where the government can set rents at a level based on the quality, size, location and facilities in the property and limit the rate at which rents can increase, arguing this would make renting more affordable for tenants. Other people oppose “rent control”, arguing this would lead to shortages of properties landlords were willing to rent. Would you support or oppose proposals for the government in introduce a points-based “rent control” system in the UK?’

A total of 21.2 per cent of respondents strongly supported a points-based system of rent controls and 32.6 per cent said they somewhat support the plans.

Conversely only 7.3 per cent somewhat opposed the proposals with 4.8 per cent strongly opposed. Just over 22 per cent showed neither support nor opposition while 11.7 per cent said they did not know.

Maggie Chapman, who is the MSP candidate for the North-east, said: “Better housing is a fundamental part of a better society. We must secure affordable, well maintained homes for all if we are to improve people’s health and well being, and have a fairer, more equal economy. Across Scotland, we see rent increases outstripping household income. These increases make housing unaffordable in many of our cities and also in rural hot spots. We must put in place rent controls that will return rents to affordable levels.

“We also must crack down on bad landlords. We need, urgently, to properly regulate letting agents. Private tenants should never face the prospect of eviction simply for raising concerns about poor quality housing.”

Patrick Harvie MSP, Co-convener of the Scottish Greens, added: “Rent controls in draft legislation is a great example of influence exerted by Scottish Greens at Holyrood, and as last week’s amendments show, we are helping strengthen the Bill. Although the Scottish Government has listened and gone some way to addressing the issue, it is vital that they go further.

“Scotland can provide affordable homes for all and Scottish Greens will keep up the pressure to make it happen. We need to build more homes and our proposals for taxing derelict land would generate hundreds of millions of pounds to invest in that; but we also need to respond to the huge growth we’ve seen in the private rented sector to bring it back to being an affordable option.”

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