The UK’s first Minister for Tenants’ Rights says he will introduce rent controls because renters currently “pay way over the odds”.
Although details are sparse, the proposal to introduce the controls has been confirmed by Patrick Harvie, who this week takes up the new role as minister for tenants in the Scottish Government, following a deal between the SNP and the Green Party.
Harvie has told the BBC: “Every Member of the Scottish Parliament will tell you that we get constituents telling us they’re paying far more in rent than for a repayment mortgage on the same property without any of the wider benefits of ownership.
“They’re living in precarious housing. They don’t have the stability of knowing they can even redecorate the way they would like.
“So we do need a package of tenants’ rights that will include rent controls because many people are simply paying way over the odds for what is an insecure tenure of housing.”
Earlier in the same interview with the BBC, Harvie appeared at odds with the SNP - which is a partner in government with his Green Party - when he said the Rent Control Zones currently operating across Scotland were “broken“ and he said there were “almost designed not to be used.”
The actual implementation of rent controls - if the Scottish Government follows through - will still be some way off.
Formal consultation is expected in the coming nine months and then - at some point in the 12 months from May 2022 - a Housing Bill will be introduced.
This is expected to include a pledge to “implement an effective national system of rent controls, with an appropriate mechanism to allow local authorities to introduce local measures.”
The final agreed system is unlikely to come before late 2024 at the earliest.
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