RENTS in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and the Lothians have rocketed above inflation over the past four years, according to Scottish Government figures.
The average rent in Aberdeen City and rural Aberdeenshire - where workers employed in the oil industry live - has risen by nearly 40 per cent since 2010. The regions also saw the highest average monthly rents for two bedroom properties of anywhere in Scotland at £898.
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However, all other areas reported a below-inflation rise in typical rental costs for two-bedroom properties, the most common size of property in the private rented sector.
Other areas with higher rents included Lothian, where landlords typically charge £779 a month and Greater Glasgow with a monthly rent of £626. Areas with the lowest average rents for two bedroom properties included North Lanarkshire, where a typical property costs just £464 to rent, closely followed by properties in the Ayrshires at £461 and the Scottish Borders at £444.
Housing charity Shelter warned that the rental sector was in need of reform.
Earlier this year, proposals to amend the Housing Act to include a cap on rent rises were blocked by the SNP and the Scottish Conservatives.
Mary Fee, housing spokeswoman for Scottish Labour, said: “This new data confirms the huge mistake the SNP made by voting with the Tories to block a cap on rent rises.
“Too many Scots find themselves trapped in the private rented sector, unable to access social housing or get a foot on the property ladder. They need and deserve a system that works for them.”
Shelter director Graeme Brown said: “Scotland’s growing ranks of private tenants need rents which are stable, predictable and affordable to make the private rented sector fairer and fit for all. These figures prove that for tenants, particularly those living in Lothian and Aberdeenshire, the sector is ripe for reform.
“We want to see a sector that thrives and is a positive experience for both tenant and landlord, where rents are stable, rent rises are predictable and where families can put down roots in their community.”
Housing Minister Margaret Burgess said: “This Government is committed to making the private rented sector an attractive and affordable housing option for anyone who wishes to live in it.
“These statistics highlight wide variations in the rate of rent increases, with hotspots in the Lothian area and in Aberdeen, but modest rises, or even falls elsewhere.”
She added: “This is clearly good news for those tenants whose rents have risen at or below the rate of inflation, but a real problem for those affected by larger increases in the hotspot areas.”
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