Housing Minister highlights new rent powers as prices soar in hot-spots


Calls for action as rent costs continue to rise across Scotland 

COUNCILS CAN ACT to tackle high rents with new control powers, Scotland’s housing minister has said as fresh figures revealed the financial scale of soaring prices. 

Private sector rent statistics for the last year found inflation busting rent hikes concentrated near Edinburgh and Glasgow, with rents also increasing in the vast majority of local council areas. 

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart MSP, who previously supported the Living Rent Campaign to control rising prices and a lack of secure tenancies, responded to the figures by highlighting the new rent control powers in the Private Housing (Tenancies) Act of 2016 that contains limited, local rent control powers – if councils seize the opportunity. 

“This act will transform the private rented sector, creating a more modern tenancy, bring stability to the sector and helping to meet Scotland’s housing needs,” Stewart claimed. 

“It also allows local authorities to be able to introduce rent caps in hot spot areas, where they feel there is a need, and this can include any areas which have seen above inflation rises.”

University officials back rent controls to reduce education financial barriers 

The areas hardest hit by rent hikes over the past five years have been Aberdeenshire (36 per cent), Lothian (24.7 per cent) and Greater Glasgow (18.5 per cent), taken on the average cost of the most common two bedroom properties. 

The Scottish average price increase of 13.7 per cent still represents a substantial increase in property costs. 

While rent costs have slowed around Aberdeen, the past year has seen rent hikes at their sharpest in Edinburgh and Glasgow with increases of 6.4 per cent and 6.6 per cent respectively for two bedroom properties. 

Nurses call for rent controls to improve health and combat housing crisis 

The Living Rent Campaign, which is establishing itself as the country’s tenants’ membership organisation, wants the government and councils to go much further and establish a national system of rent controls. 

High profile figures in the SNP, including Stewart, have previously expressed support for the campaign. 

Rent controls are set to be an issue in the 2017 council elections, with Glasgow SNP councillor Angus Millar calling for their implementation in Glasgow, and the Scottish Green party also supporting local controls. 

Picture courtesy of Living Rent/CraigMaclean

Check out what people are saying about how important CommonSpace is. Pledge your support today.