Shelter has given what appears to be unconditional support to the SNP-Green proposals for reform of the private rental sector in Scotland, including national rent controls and new powers to clampdown on evictions.
The Scottish Government describes its proposals as delivering “a new deal for tenants, with stronger rights, greater protections against eviction and access to greener, higher-quality, more affordable housing, have been launched.”
Reform proposals contained in the 108-page consultation document include:
- increasing penalties for illegal evictions and stronger enforcement;
- restricting evictions during winter;
- giving tenants greater flexibility to personalise their homes and keep pets;
- developing a national system of rent controls for the private rented sector;
- introducing a new Housing Standard to apply to all homes;
- establishing a private rented sector regulator to uphold these standards and ensure the system is fair for both landlords and tenants;
- setting minimum standards for energy efficiency, making homes cheaper to heat while contributing to Scotland’s climate change targets.
The measures form part of the ‘Housing to 2040’ strategy, published by the Scottish Government in March this year, and take forward several commitments made in the co-operation agreement between the SNP and the Scottish Green Party.
Alison Watson, director of Shelter Scotland, says: “A warm, safe, and permanent home is a right not a privilege for everyone in Scotland. To make this a reality we need to ensure there is enough social housing for everyone who needs it, while strengthening the rights of tenants and empowering people to defend them.
“Shelter Scotland has long called for tenants’ rights and protections, in both the social and private sectors, to be strengthened to make sure no one can be denied their right to a home. Too many renters aren’t aware of their rights or don’t feel confident in enforcing them and that needs to change.
“This is an ambitious strategy, and it offers the chance to mend many aspects of a housing system that is currently failing thousands. We are excited to work with the Scottish Government to develop these ideas and build a better future for housing in Scotland.”
The results of the consultation will feed into the final version of the strategy to be published next year, with elements of the proposals put to the Scottish Parliament in a Housing Bill in 2023.
You can see the full consultation document here.
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