Tenant Support

– in the Scottish Parliament am ar 28 Mawrth 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Baroness Katy Clark Baroness Katy Clark Llafur

6. To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on what action it is taking to support tenants, in light of reports of accelerating rents. (S6O-03289)

Photo of Patrick Harvie Patrick Harvie Green


I said in my answer to the previous question, the

Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) (Scotland) Act 2022 has provided tenants with much-needed stability in tenancies at a time when rents have been rising across the United Kingdom. In 2023-24, we invested more than £83 million in discretionary housing payments, which are a vital tool to reduce poverty, safeguard tenancies and prevent homelessness.

I am delighted that the new housing legislation that was set out in the programme for government has now been introduced. The Housing (Scotland) Bill will enable the delivery of our commitment to longer-term proposals for private rented sector rent controls, the strengthening of tenants’ rights and other protections, and duties that are aimed at preventing homelessness.

Photo of Baroness Katy Clark Baroness Katy Clark Llafur

I welcome the publication of the bill and congratulate Living Rent, tenants unions and all who have campaigned for rent controls legislation. As the minister knows, we face a housing emergency, and he referred to the concern about a cliff edge. The adjudication system that the Scottish Government is proposing is complicated, and there is concern about the burden on councils. Living Rent is calling for a rent cap. What consideration is being given to interim measures to help tenants while we wait for the legislation to come into force?

Photo of Patrick Harvie Patrick Harvie Green

I join the member in congratulating all those who have campaigned for progress in this area for a long time, as I have. I first proposed rent controls in the Parliament well over a decade ago, and I got very little support at that time from any part of the political spectrum. I am glad that the case has much more support today.

The member will be aware that the temporary emergency legislation that the Parliament passed had a time limit. If it had not had that time limit and had not been temporary emergency legislation, it would have failed the legal test of proportionality and necessity, which we have to meet. That legislation was challenged in court, and the reason why we won that challenge was largely that we met the proportionality and necessity test because of the emergency legislation’s temporary nature.

The adjudication provisions that we have drafted are by necessity more complicated than a rent cap, but we have put a great deal of effort into raising awareness of tenants’ rights and making sure that they are able to exercise the rights and protections that are available to them.