Scottish Greens to debate rent controls

The Scottish Greens will debate the introduction of rent controls in Scotland at their October party conference. Picture: Alex Hewitt
The Scottish Greens will debate the introduction of rent controls in Scotland at their October party conference. Picture: Alex Hewitt
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THE introduction of rent controls in Scotland will be debated by the Scottish Greens at their conference in October.

Party members will discuss 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.

It follows a motion by co-convenor Maggie Chapman, who is standing for election to the Scottish Parliament in next year’s vote.

The policy would see the Greens call for longer tenancies and the creation of a Scottish Living Rent Commission.

The party said the private rented sector has doubled in size over the past decade and many areas of Scotland have seen significant increases in rent levels.

MSP and co-convenor Patrick Harvie 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.”

North East candidate Ms Chapman said: “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.”

The Scottish Green Party annual conference takes place at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre in Glasgow on October 10 and 11.