Today the Scottish Parliament passed the Private Housing Bill, fulfilling the SNP’s commitment to reform the private rented sector. This Bill will provide security, stability and predictability for 700,000 tenants in Scotland while providing appropriate safeguards for landlords, lenders and investors.
The Bill creates a modernised tenancy by taking actions such as removing no fault tenancies, introducing a modern tenancy, and ensuring rents can only increase once a year.
The SNP Government is also tackling the problem of excessive rent rises for sitting tenants by giving councils the ability to apply to Ministers to introduce rent control in rent pressure areas. This is the first time any such control has been introduced in Scotland and is an ambitious plan to provide protection for tenants from excessive rent rises. You can read more about the details of the Private Housing Bill here.
The Bill also introduces a new system of redress for landlords and tenants through a new Housing Tribunal system, which will avoid disputes having to go to court. Today the Housing Minister Margaret Burgess announced that there will be no fees for tenants or landlords taking their case to the Tribunal if the SNP are re-elected for a historic third term.
We know that in order to tackle rent affordability we need to increase the supply of houses across all tenures, and this is a key priority for the SNP. In government we’ve exceeded our commitment to build 30,000 affordable homes in this term of the parliament through an investment of £1.7 billion. The latest housing figures from December 2015, show that the Scottish Government have delivered 31,034 homes, which included over 20,000 for social rent – over 5,000 of which were council house.
The SNP want a private rented sector that provides good quality homes and high management standard, as well as appropriate safeguards for landlords, lenders and investors – and that’s what this Bill will deliver.