Tenants rights' campaigners stage protests across Scotland demanding rent controls

Tenants rights' campaigners have staged protests across Scotland, demanding the First Minister make rent controls a top priority.

Living Rent held rallies in Glasgow, Aberdeen and outside Bute House in Edinburgh, taking the fight against soaring rents to John Swinney's doorstep.

It comes after Ministers declared a national housing emergency and as the parliament is consulting on the Housing Bill.

But following the collapse of the Bute House agreement in April, campaigners fear proposals for rent controls could be watered down amid calls from landlords for a 'pragmatic' approach.

Living Rent says that tenants have been “pushed to the edge by the end of the rent cap” and argue controls are "desperately needed".

It says that the Scottish government needs to reaffirm its commitment to a robust system of rent controls that can help to bring rents down.

Monthly rental prices have soared as landlords hiked up how much tenants must pay in the last year. Private rents have increased by 6.8% in the twelve months to January.

Figures from the Scottish Government published in November revealed that between 2010 and 2023, rents across Scotland have increased on average 51.6%.

Living Rent and housing charities have warned that low earners pay over half of their monthly wages on rent, leaving a third struggling.

And it's estimated one in ten households in poverty are experiencing ‘very low’ food security, with meals skipped, or food cut because the family could not afford enough to eat.

Living Rent’s National Campaign’s Officer, Ruth Gilbert said:Tenants have been pushed to the edge by the end of the rent cap and eviction ban. The rent cap provided a temporary bandage over a growing crisis, but it has not addressed the fundamental issue that rents are out of control.

"Rents in Scotland have continued to rise in line with the rest of the UK because the temporary measures did not go far enough, and did not apply between tenancies.

"Tenants desperately need this government to introduce a robust system of rent controls tied to the property, not the tenancy, which protects all tenants. The new Housing Bill is a key opportunity for proper rent controls and our presence today demonstrates the importance of it.

"The Scottish Government urgently needs to reverse its cuts to affordable housing, and commit to strong, permanent rent controls. Without this, tenants will continue to be forced to put up with unaffordable housing."

The Scottish Government has been contacted for comment.

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