A so-called Citizens Assembly set up by a leading politician has called for rent controls.
The Citizen’s Assembly of Scotland was launched by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in 2019, with the aim of being representative of the country. Its recommendations are not binding, but the Scottish Government is obliged to respond to its recommendations and reports.
So the Assembly has now called for both rent controls and a joint approach to the private rental sector between politicians and tenant bodies.
The report also advocates a points-based system of rent controls linked to the quality and amenities of a property, not market rates.
The Scotsman newspaper quotes one of the Assembly’s 100 members - Shirley Islam, a social care worker - saying: “I think for a lot of young people today they are stuck in a trap of extortionate rents but also outrageous mortgages. How is someone with an average wage supposed to live comfortably in rented accommodation today? You often see ‘affordable housing’ advertised but affordable for who exactly?
“What the assembly allowed was for a variety of voices from various backgrounds to come together to tell their truths. From landlords to young tenants we were able to hear from a wide consensus. We came to the conclusion that we had to support a recommendation to try to tackle the inequality gap between older home owners and younger people struggling to achieve security.”
It cites another Assembly member - Aidan Callahan, a musician - saying: “I’d like to hammer home the point that the assembly was looking to provide guidance on what we, the people, want to see for housing. It is clear that where we are right now is not good enough and that we can help this process through our recommendations.
“I will be honest that I did worry that there would have been a big divide between landlords and homeowners, and what young people hoped to see to help them access more secure tenancies, whether that was renting or making it easier to buy homes. But the truth is that 96 percent of us backed recommendations for rent controls and there was a lot of support for other progressive housing measures.”