Ahead of todays’s final stage of the Housing Bill at Holyrood, the Scottish Greens have set out their amendments to the Bill to improve the experience for tenants in the private rented sector.
The Green amendments, part of Patrick Harvie’s ‘Rent Rights’ campaign, aim to:
- extend the new code of practice for letting agents to include individual landlords, an unused power which has existed since 2004
- require the code of practice to end discrimination against prospective tenants on socio-economic grounds, being in receipt of benefits (“No DSS”), or immigration status
- require tenants to be given compensation for any rent they’ve paid while a letting agent is in breach of the code of practice
In addition, the Greens will support amendments by James Kelly MSP on rent controls and improved security of lease for tenants – both ambitions of their ‘Rent Rights’ campaign. (1)
Patrick Harvie, Green MSP for Glasgow said:
“This Bill contains many positive ideas but at this final stage it still needs to do more to improve the lives of those who’ve been left with no choice except the private rented sector. The new Code of Practice should apply to landlords as well as letting agents, as tenants should expect a decent quality of service regardless of who they pay rent to.
“Parliament has the opportunity to send a clear message about acceptable standards in the private rented sector. Ruling out tenants who might need housing benefit is outdated discrimination that needs to end, just as Scotland should set a different tone to the Westminster Government with our approach to housing and immigration.
“There is growing debate on how to tackle rising rents and insecure leases, and I look forward to the Scottish Government setting out its response to these amendments. Greens are clear that the growing size of the private rented sector means that we must ensure it is an affordable, well-managed housing option which meets a social need instead of only serving the interests of investors and other businesses”