Scotland’s new tenant minister defends rent controls plan



Tenants live in insecure housing where they pay way over the odds on rent – which is why rent controls need to be established.

That is according to Scotland’s newly appointed minister for tenants’ rights – and Green Party co-leader – Patrick Harvie.

After his appointment, which comes despite receiving just 3251 votes in the last Holyrood election, Harvie discussed his upcoming strategy with BBC Scotland’s The Nine programme.

Harvie said: “I’ve got constituents, every MSP will tell you the same thing… saying they are paying far more on rent than they would for a repayment mortgage on the same property

“They don’t get any of the wider benefits of ownership. They’re living with precarious housing. They don’t have the stability of knowing that they can even, you know, just redecorate the place the way they would like.

“So we do need a package of tenants rights that will include rent controls because many people are simply paying way over the odds for what is an insecure tenure in housing.”

Harvie, who is also charged with managing zero carbon buildings and active travel, took aim at the current system.

Scotland currently has a system where councils can control rents in their area by requesting Scottish ministers to designate a Rent Pressure Zone.

However these powers are barely used – John Blackwood of the Scottish Association of landlords blamed this on a lack of data on the cost of renting last week.

Harvie added: “”We have a broken system of rent control called rent pressure zones.

“Nowhere in Scotland has it ever been used. It’s almost designed not to be used, so we need a proper system.”

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