Pressure grows on rent reform

Scottish Labour has called on the SNP Government to clarify its position on rent reform after it emerged ministers welcomed a UN report which recommended capping rent increases.

A report by UN Special Rapporteur Raquel Rolnik published after visits to cities across the UK, including Glasgow and Edinburgh, recommended restraints on rent increases, and was warmly welcomed by Housing Minister Margaret Burgess last year.

But she later instructed SNP MSPs to vote to block Scottish Labour proposals at Stage 2 of the Housing (Scotland) Bill to limit rent reviews to once a year, and cap increases to stop tenants being ripped off.

Ahead of a vote later this month on the bill’s third reading, Scottish Labour has asked the SNP Government to clarify if it still agrees with Raquel Rolnik and is now prepared to support Labour’s call for rent reform.

Scottish Labour Infrastructure spokesperson James Kelly MSP said:

“Raquel Rolnik was absolutely right to recommend reforming the market to limit rent increases. Scottish Labour supports this and it is time the SNP Government made clear what it is going to do.

“In Scotland we have over 300,000 private renters, almost half of which are families with children and over 100,000 are living in poverty.

“People are choosing between heating and eating because of rising rent levels. This is an absolute scandal. We must take action on this, and we can take action on this now through the Housing Bill.

“Margaret Burgess was wrong to side with the Tories to vote against my proposals at Stage 2, but the SNP will have the opportunity to fix that by voting for my amendments at Stage 3, and deliver a fairer deal for Scotland’s renters.

“It is time for the SNP to pick a side – are they with Scottish Labour, Raquel Rolnik and Scotland’s hard pressed renting families, or are they with the Tories?”

6 June 2014