10:33 AM, 4th October 2022, About A year ago
The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) is urging a rethink on Scotland’s proposed rent freeze because it will threaten the delivery of social housing.
The SFHA says that without increased government investment, housing associations will not be able to build the affordable homes that are needed to tackle poverty if a proposed rent freeze is implemented.
The move follows an announcement by the Scottish Government that legislation to bring in a rent freeze and a moratorium on evictions until March 2023 – and possibly for up to 18 months – will now be debated by the Scottish Parliament.
Ministers will get temporary powers to cap rents for private and social tenancies and the cap will be set at 0% – effectively freezing rents.
The proposed legislation has also been criticised by the Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL) which says that housing supply in the country’s private rental sector is being affected.
The landlords also say that the SNP and Greens are pushing for ‘rhetoric over results’ with their new law.
However, the SFHA also points out that its members are key to tackling the cost-of-living crisis, but soaring construction costs, net zero targets and the proposed rent controls all threaten social landlords’ ability to play their part.
They add that rents in the social housing sector are roughly half of those charged in the private sector, which directly helps to tackle poverty.
And more than half of social tenants have their rents covered by welfare benefits – so a rent freeze will not affect their income.
One of the unintended consequence of a rent freeze is that tenants in Scotland will lose out on accessing more affordable homes.
Housing associations will also have to cut back on service provision – so Scotland will lose out on investment in housing and communities.
Aaron Hill, the SFHA’s director of policy and membership, said: “Soaring construction costs, net zero targets, and rent control all threaten our members’ ability to build homes.
“The Scottish Government must increase investment year on year for social landlords and rethink its plan to introduce rent controls or it risks missing its target to build 110,000 affordable homes by 2032.”
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