Charity calls for 'fairer' private sector rents
Scotland’s private rented sector has the potential to lead the rest of the UK by building a more affordable market, according to a homelessness charity.
Shelter Scotland’s call for a fairer, more affordable and more secure rental market comes ahead of the launch tomorrow of a new draft strategy on private renting by Scottish housing minister Keith Brown.
Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said: ‘The private rented sector in Scotland offers greater flexibility compared to homeownership and is an attractive choice for many individuals and families. It is particularly well-suited to Scotland’s economic needs and is poised to make a much greater contribution to meeting our housing needs.
‘Scotland can lead the UK by building a 21st century private rented sector based on the foundations of security, fairness and affordability.’
Mr Brown will launch the new strategy at Shelter Scotland’s ‘New beginnings for private renting in Scotland’ conference in Glasgow. Housing experts have urged Mr Brown to follow the lead of some European states in ensuring higher standards of service in the private sector.
‘In Germany more people rent than own their own homes,’ said Professor Felix Schindler from the Centre for European Economic Research, who will speak at the conference. ‘Renting is seen as a normal and long term choice, with landlords equally seeing investment in rented property as a long term investment.
‘Tenancies are usually for unlimited time periods, normally determined by the tenant, and where landlords wish to evict their tenants they must prove legitimate reasons. There is also strict regulation against prohibitive rent increases and rent levels.
‘Germany shows that regulation and a thriving rental sector can go hand-in-hand.’
Only 5 per cent of Scottish households currently rent in the private sector, compared to nearly a quarter of all German households.