Patrick's response to Government consultation
With more than an eighth of all homes in Scotland now privately rented, reforms and increased regulatory measures are being called for to improve private renting for both tenants and landlords. In welcome recognition of these calls, the Scottish Government is consulting on possible reforms to the tenancy system before (we hope!) legislating. Patrick’s response is published here.
Patrick began working on increased renting rights in last 2013 through his Rent Rights campaign. While positive steps were taken with last year’s Housing Act, the reforms proposed in the Scottish Governments consultation bring us further in the process of establishing greater protection and regulation for tenants and landlords.
Patrick supports the focus on two important issues in the tenancy reform proposals; security of tenure and affordability.
Firstly, the proposals aim to ensure security and stability for renters in terms of length of lease, otherwise known as security of tenure. Patrick acknowledges that although many tenants appreciate flexibility in their lifestyle and living arrangements, there are a substantial number who depend on renting and desire stability and security, removed from the norm of short term and rolling tenancy agreements.
Secondly, cost and affordability is gladly taken into account throughout these proposals. Patrick’s response highlights the importance of regulating rent increases and calls for measures to ensure tenants are protected from unexpected or dramatic increases.
Patrick largely supports the recommendations of the new tenancy regulations. However, he has reservations and concerns on the proposed grounds for landlord repossession, emphasising the need for protection of tenants who face the risk of repossession through no fault of their own. Furthermore, there is a need for increased exploration into methods of rent increase limitations.
Increased regulation in the private sector is to be welcomed and, as Patrick outlines in his response to the consultation, housing should be addressed as a social issue instead of a commercial transaction. Regulation of the private rented sector is deserving of renewed attention from the Scottish Government and we are hopeful that they will bring forward legislation that goes some way to meeting the priorities at the centre of the Rent Rights campaign.