Monday 23-03-2015 - 16:50
As part of the Living Rent campaign week of action, Gordon Maloney writes about landlord proposals to restrict the rights of student tenants.
In the run up to Christmas, the Scottish Government ran a consultation on a number of reforms to the private rented sector. NUS Scotland were key in founding the Living Rent Campaign to influence the new proposed bill, calling for better security from eviction, more flexibility and the introduction of rent controls in Scotland. You can read lots more about what we’re saying here.
Later this month, the Scottish Government will be publishing its analysis of the responses to its consultation, but they are available to view online already – and they are a worrying insight into what we’re up against, but there’s one that stands out as a particular threat for students.
The Scottish Association of Landlords are proposing to quite literally allow landlords to evict students simply by virtue of being students.
They want student tenants to be forced to sign a “student let notification” when signing a lease that would exempt them from the bulk of the proposed bill’s protections from eviction.
This is obviously unworkable—what if there’s a mix of students and non-students? What if people complete their course during the tenancy? What if people drop out? What if you’re on a course that lasts longer than whatever arbitrary period the landlords decide is apropriate?—and a clear attempt at divide-and-conquer by landlords who want to further restrict the rights of tenants.
We are obviously opposing this clause. We know that students are often the tenants most taken advantage of by landlords and that any proposal that would write that into law is unacceptable. But, by highlighting some of the things landlords would do if they had their way, they clearly show the need and importance of the Living Rent Campaign.
Landlords and letting agents are well organised and well-resourced (with money they took off us!) and if we want to have any chance of winning not just against this clause, but winning rent controls and better security for tenants – all tenants! – then we need to organise as well. The Living Rent Campaign has been taking its message to streets, campuses and doorsteps all across Scotland and if we want to win – then we need folk to get stuck in.
You can help by taking these two easy steps:
1. Taking part in our week of action: https://www.facebook.com/events/1559254817676542
2. Passing policy to affiliate your students’ association to the Living Rent Campaign