A tenants’ union have launched a new movement to introduce effective rent controls throughout Scotland.

 

Living Rent and think-tank Common Weal, argue that there are flaws in the existing Rent Pressure Zones scheme introduced by the government in 2017.

 

Campaigners say the system does not take into account the already very high rent rates in Scotland and argue that they are yet to see any Rent Pressure Zones being created.

 

In these zones, the rent rise is capped to one per year. However, a loophole under the current legislation, the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016, means the date is not set as to when the first rise can be enforced in a tenancy.

 

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This means that landlords and letting agents could increase rent rates within months of a tenant moving in.

 

Campaigners are now putting pressure on the government to use a rent control system where rises would be attached to an affordability index.

 

The index would keep rent levels below 25% of a tenant’s income, which Living rent says is an affordable level.

 

The union also wants to create a new Scottish Living Rent Commission in order to regulate and monitor the private rent sector.

 

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Gordon Maloney, a member of Living Rent and Co-author of the report, believes that the government needs to take action urgently and that current measures are not sustainable.

 

“Rent pressure zones are not working. If we are serious about ensuring affordable and decent housing for everyone in Scotland, then we need proper rent controls now.”

 

Robin McAlpine, of Common Weal, said: “we need effective rent controls to tip the balance back in favour of the tenants.”

 

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