In the media

16
May

Articles of interest to the industry

Media coverage
BBC Radio Scotland – Good Morning Scotland – 11th May (55.21 in)
The Herald – Petition against rent controls attracts 3000 signatures – 11th May
Glasgow Evening Times – Petition to stop rent controls – 11th May
Scottish Housing News – 3,000 sign petition to stop rent controls – 11th May·         Letting Agent Today – Lettings sector petition goes before parliament – 11th May

 Articles of Interest:

Scottish Parliament – questions:
Michael McMahon: To ask the First Minister whether the Scottish Government considers that there is a need to protect private tenants from unfair rent rises. (S4F-02792)

The First Minister (Nicola Sturgeon): Yes, I do. The Scottish Government’s vision is for a private rented sector that provides good-quality homes and high management standards and which inspires consumer confidence. We want tenants to have more security and to be able to assert their rights without fear of eviction. That is why we have consulted on a new tenancy for the private rented sector that proposes to end unpredictability in rent increases by prohibiting more than one rent increase a year, with 12 weeks’ notice required for any change, and also puts in place protection for tenants against unfair or excessive rent hikes, through a process of adjudication.

Michael McMahon: Although there is widespread support for the Government’s plans to simplify and clarify the private rented sector tenancy system and improve security of tenure by removing the no-fault grounds for repossession, does the First Minister recognise that there are concerns that, because of the second consultation, the timetable for legislation is in danger of slipping, and that the Government’s proposals do not go far enough to make the private rented sector secure, flexible and affordable for tenants? While we wait for the bill, will the First Minister confirm that she supports the reintroduction of rent controls, that she believes that tenants’ welfare should be put first and that she believes that tenants must be protected by being given sufficient and justifiable notice to leave by landlords?

The First Minister: All those objectives are what led to us consulting in the way that I outlined. The consultation that I and Michael McMahon referred to attracted more than 7,500 responses, which will be analysed by an independent social research company. We expect to publish the findings in early August and we have committed to introducing a bill to Parliament this autumn, so we are determined to keep that timetable on track. We want to see a private rented sector that provides good-quality homes and high standards of management and we want to ensure that the tenants who live in those homes have the protection that they deserve. We have consulted on a range of proposals around a new tenancy and some of the issues around rent increases that Michael McMahon mentioned. We are serious about tackling those issues, but I am sure that all members will understand that, having embarked on the consultation, it is essential that we complete the process.

Jim Hume (South Scotland) (LD): I look forward to the new modern tenancy regime, with more proportionate rent rises. Will the First Minister and her Government support tenants to have the right to stay longer in their homes than the current six months?

The First Minister: We want to ensure that tenants have appropriate security of tenure. That is what this process is entirely about. When we introduce the bill—as I said, we plan to do that in the autumn—our proposals will be subject to full parliamentary scrutiny, and if members such as Jim Hume do not think that the proposals go far enough in any particular areas, they will have the opportunity to put forward amendments. We are absolutely determined to deliver a modern private rented sector tenancy that is fit for the future, that encourages people to make homes for rent available—because they are required—but which also ensures that people who rely on the private rented sector can also rely on high-quality standards. We have given that commitment and are determined to deliver it. The last point that I would make is that, although the issue that we are discussing is hugely important, the way to improve the affordability of housing is to increase the supply of housing. Over the lifetime of this session of Parliament, our planned investment in affordable housing will exceed £1.7 billion. We are three quarters of the way into our five-year target for affordable housing and are confident that we are going to meet that target.