Scottish Greens conference to debate rent controls

Maggie Chapman
Maggie Chapman

A policy motion supporting rent controls in Scotland is due to be debated at the Scottish Green Party Conference in Glasgow this October.

The motion was proposed by Maggie Chapman, co-convenor of the Scottish Greens and candidate for North East for the Scottish Parliament election in 2016.

If passed, the party will start working for a points-based system to set rent levels in the private rented sector, as well as a cap to ensure rents do not rise beyond an affordable level. The policy would also mandate the Greens to call for longer tenancies and the creation on a Scottish Living Rent Commission.

The two Green MSPs, Alison Johnstone and Patrick Harvie, have already given their support to the Living Rent Campaign, which calls for the reintroduction of rent controls in Scotland.

Last week the results from the Scottish Household Survey 2014 found that the Scottish private rented sector (PRS) has tripled since 1999 while there has been a clear reduction in home ownership and tenancies in the socially rented sector.

Simultaneously, many areas in Scotland have seen significant increases in rent levels.

Patrick Harvie MSP, co-convener of the Scottish Green Party, said: “Green MSPs have been campaigning for years on rent controls, and greater security for tenants in Scotland. The current reality is that people are being pushed out of their homes because of unaffordable rents and lack of rights for tenants.

“The private rented sector has grown rapidly over the past decade, but it has been treated simply as a market choice when in reality it’s the only housing available to huge numbers of people. Many European countries already have rent controls in place to ensure tenants can feel safe and secure in their homes. It’s time Scotland followed suit.

“Scotland also needs urgent investment in the socially rented sector, but we can’t use that as an excuse to leave people vulnerable in private tenancies. We need to make the sector work for tenants, not just for landlords’ profit margins.”

Maggie Chapman added: “The impact of runaway rents is painfully clear in Aberdeen, where many tenants have to spend a huge portion of their income just to have a place to call home.

“Falling wages have not been matched by falling rent, leaving many struggling to keep a roof over their heads. Rising poverty levels, decreasing incomes and increasing homelessness have a disastrous impact on our society. We need to put a stop to this.

“Housing is a basic need and a human right. With effective controls on rent levels, we can begin to make housing affordable for ordinary people in Aberdeen and all across Scotland.”




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