10:04 AM, 21st December 2021, About 4 weeks ago 13
The Scottish Government is consulting on the draft ‘A New Deal for Tenants’ to propose a rented sector strategy looking to improve accessibility, affordability choices and standards across the whole rented sector in Scotland. Click here
It is looking at a phased implementation over the next five years.
Patrick Harvie MSP Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights said in a forward to the consultation they were looking to:
Improve affordability by introducing an effective national system of rent controls as a key aim. It will take time to assemble the evidence we need, but we have set out some shorter-term reform too.
The new deal for tenants will also improve security. We will review the grounds leading to an end of tenancy and deter landlords from undertaking illegal evictions by increasing penalties and compensation for tenants, and build on the success seen in preventing evictions during the pandemic by considering new restrictions to evictions in winter.
To embed a strong, rights-based approach, we will also introduce a new housing regulator for the Private Rented Sector, to improve standards and to ensure the system is fair.
The Scottish government have indicated they only consider housing to be adequate if it meets the following criteria:
Security of tenure: housing is not adequate if its occupants do not have a degree of tenure security which guarantees legal protection against forced evictions, harassment and other threats.
Availability of services, materials, facilities and infrastructure: housing is not adequate if its occupants do not have safe drinking water, adequate sanitation, energy for cooking, heating, lighting, food storage or refuse disposal.
Affordability: housing is not adequate if its cost threatens or compromises the occupants’ enjoyment of other human rights.
Habitability: housing is not adequate if it does not guarantee physical safety or provide adequate space, as well as protection against the cold, damp, heat, rain, wind, other threats to health and structural hazards.
Accessibility: housing is not adequate if the specific needs of disadvantaged and marginalised groups are not taken into account.
Location: housing is not adequate if it is cut off from employment opportunities, health-care services, schools, childcare centres and other social facilities, or if located in polluted or dangerous areas.
Cultural adequacy: housing is not adequate if it does not respect and take into account the expression of cultural identity.
Click here to download the full consultation document.
Propertymark policy manager, Daryl McIntosh, said: “Whilst we support the right to an adequate home and the Scottish Government’s commitment to elevating standards and quality in the private rented sector, we fear the policies outlined in the Draft Rented Sector Strategy will have unintended consequences and ultimately be detrimental to tenants unless there is a balance with landlords’ rights.
“We have real concerns that the proposed system of rent controls will undermine the viability of the private rented sector and do nothing to tackle the perceived affordability issues, while further regulatory burdens will inevitably continue to force landlords to exit the market.
“If the Scottish government wants to ensure a healthy supply of good quality, affordable and secure homes, it must recognise the value and significance of the private rented sector and actively encourage more investors to provide homes. Only by increasing and sustaining investment in the sector can it achieve its aims, and the Strategy as drafted falls far short of providing the certainties and incentives that are needed.”
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