Thursday 21-01-2016 - 17:20
On Thursday, MSPs voted in favour of the Private Housing (Tenancies) Bill at Stage 1 of the parliamentary process. Commenting, Vonnie Sandlan, NUS Scotland President, said:
“NUS Scotland has a long history of campaigning on issues affecting the private rental sector, which provides homes for a huge number of Scotland’s students and young people. It’s great to see the Private Housing Bill get the backing of MSPs, as it presents an opportunity to give greater security to tenants and bolster their rights.
“Every year we see the number of young people living in the private-rented sector grow, as home ownership slips further out of their reach. But that puts them into a sector where the bulk of power lies with landlords. It’s appalling that it’s becoming the norm for a tenant to spend a sizeable chunk of their income just on renting what is often sub-standard accommodation. The measures being proposed in the Bill are some of the most basic rights we should expect tenants to have to address this imbalance. Things like, challenging unfair rent rises, having more security while you live there, removing no-fault grounds for repossession, and creating more flexible contracts, empowering tenants to turn their temporary flat into a longer-term home.
NUS Scotland is calling on MSPs to continue to support this Bill, creating a more secure, flexible, and affordable private rented sector for Scotland. We now need to start looking ahead at where we can further strengthen the measures proposed in the Bill. Particularly, we need to extend the measures on rent controls to stop rents rocketing between tenancies, not just during them; a move which would only punish new tenants. We also want the Bill to acknowledge circumstances where mandatory grounds for repossession would not be fair for a tenant, or where tenants might need to leave a tenancy in the first 6 months for health and safety reasons. We look forward to continuing this campaign as the Bill makes its way through Parliament.”