Law News

Scottish Labour Proposes Bill to Control Rent Prices

Em Morley - May 22, 2019

The Scottish Labour Party has proposed a bill that would control rent prices north of the border.

The Fair Rents (Scotland) Bill, proposed by Pauline McNeill MSP, seeks to enforce fair rent prices, by introducing a points-based system.

The law would link rent prices to average wages, to ensure affordability, while giving tenants the powers to challenge rents and seek reductions.

Rules on restricting rent price rises to once every 12 months are already in force in Scotland, through the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016, but the new bill would further control rent prices. Labour claims that it would ensure that no one is “forced to rent a home that pushes them into poverty”.

The bill honours Scottish campaigner and socialist Mary Barbour, who organised rent strikes and actively opposed evictions.

At First Minister’s Questions, the Scottish Labour Leader, Richard Leonard, said: “We have seen the return of private landlord-ism and rents have soared whilst wages have stagnated.

“According to the Scottish Government’s own figures, over 40% of all children living in the private rented sector are now living in poverty. That is 60,000 children.”

He added: “We think that private rent rises should be capped and controlled. So, Nicola Sturgeon has a choice, will she take the side of rogue landlords and a broken housing market? Or she can back Labour’s plans and back our Mary Barbour Bill.”

A consultation on the bill can be found here

South of the border, the Housing Secretary, James Brokenshire MP, has rejected rent controls, but the Labour Party supports them.

In recent years, private rental legislation in Scotland has set a precedent for legal changes in England and Wales, notably the tenant fees ban and proposed abolition of Section 21 notices.

What are your thoughts on Scottish Labour’s plans to control rent prices?