MSP calls for action on fair rents

MSP Jackie Baillie has called on politicians of all parties to deliver fair rents for local people, as new figures show that rent levels have increased all over Scotland.

Statistics released by letting agents Your Move show that the average rent in Scotland has increased by nearly 3% in the last year, and by 5.5% in the Glasgow and Clyde region.

The average Scottish rent now stands at £537 a month – more than the weekly median wage in Scotland.

The average rent for the Highlands and Islands region, which includes the 5000 privately rented households in Argyll and Bute, is now £538.

Previous analysis has shown that the number of homes in the private rented sector living in poverty has more than doubled in a decade to over 100,000, with one in four Scots who live in poverty living in the private rented sector. Nearly half of private renters in Scotland are families.

Earlier this year, the Dumbarton constituency MSP supported proposals for a fair rent cap in the Housing (Scotland) Act to limit rent rises to stop tenants being ripped off by landlords.

The Labour MSP said this was blocked by the SNP but it was now time for Scotland’s parties to work together to make a real difference to the lives of people in Scotland, and one area to consider would be fair rents.

“These new figures are really worrying, times are hard enough for families in Dumbarton, Vale of Leven and Helensburgh with rising energy bills and spiralling childcare costs, the last thing we need is to see rents rise to unaffordable levels,” she said.

“We must make the private rental sector work for the people who need it most – families and people on low pay.

“The referendum made clear that we must work together to build a fairer, better, more prosperous Scotland. It is what Scots want regardless of whether they voted Yes, whether they voted No, or what party they will support in the future.

“We can begin by having an honest debate about how we can make renting more affordable for the low paid, so that they can have a home, not just a roof over their heads.”