Affordable homes make all the difference

Picture: John Devlin
Picture: John Devlin
Have your say

And tenants need looking after too, says Margaret Burgess

A secure and affordable home can make all the difference to the lives of people and families across Scotland. For those who rent in the private sector, it’s often not guaranteed, and ensuring this happens has been both a personal and professional priority for me in my role as Housing Minister.

Around 700,000 people in Scotland live in privately rented homes, let out by around 150,000 landlords. These tenants have not always found the sector they live in to be stable and secure.

Today I’m happy in the knowledge that the steps we have taken over the past five years mean, with the Private Tenancies (Housing) (Scotland) Bill reaching its final stage in Parliament today, that tenants will have a modern, straightforward, safe and secure system for renting ­privately.

Over the years, I’ve spoken with tenants who have told me uncertainty around rent hikes and contracts meant living in limbo, not knowing if they would be asked to pay out more at the end of the month or even if they’d have somewhere to stay in a few months’ time.

This bill will end that uncertainty, and ensure these individuals and families are able to live without the fear of eviction or huge rent increases.

We consulted with tenants and landlords from across Scotland, and those views have gone on to shape the bill. Because it’s is not just for tenants: it means landlords and others working in the sector are better protected. It means the sector as a whole is able to grow and flourish.

Next week I will step down as an MSP and therefore my time as Housing Minister will end soon. My time as MSP and Minister has been a privilege and I’m proud of our record.

More than 30,000 affordable homes have been delivered in the lifetime of this Parliament, with 20,000 for social rent. We have committed to deliver at least 50,000 more within the next Parliament.

• Margaret Burgess, Housing Minister


• More information on becoming a Friend of The Scotsman