Renting in Scotland needs to change.
Over the past ten years the sector has rapidly grown in size: now housing 330,000 households – 85,000 of which contain children. Private renting today is no longer the preserve of students and young professionals. Many more families now call the sector home long-term, as do an increasing number of young people; renters unable to access our limited supply of social housing, or become homeowners as house prices continue to rise out of reach.
This is why Scotland’s private rented sector sorely needs to be brought up to date. It is simply unacceptable that young families have no cast-iron guarantee that they won’t be asked to leave their home with as little as two months’ notice. It is also essential that we do all we can to end the damaging combination of insecure housing and insecure employment which risks defining the new generation of young renters.
Living under such insecurity has consequences for private renters’ home, family and work life. Uncertainty over whether your children will be able to continue going to the same school, whether you’ll be made to move away from tight-knit support networks and even your place of work.
Many of us take this stability for granted. Knowing that you have a safe, secure home is an essential part of how we live our lives, with unplanned moves being almost unthinkable. And yet private renters – 14% of all households – are not afforded this simple certainty.
This is why we welcome the introduction of the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Bill – after over 25 years it is high time Scotland’s dated private rented tenancy was radically rethought. A clear, straightforward tenancy will benefit private renters, landlords and investors and ensure the sector is ready for the challenges it faces. Encouragingly, while the devil will of course be in the detail, the Scottish Government have put security of tenure front and centre of this reform.
Over the coming weeks and months Shelter Scotland – through our Make Renting Right campaign – will continue to call for the secure and stable tenancy private renters in Scotland need.
If this can be realised it will be a massive leap forward for private renting in Scotland.
If you’re a private renter and you’d like to share your views on this important reform you join Scotland’s private rented sector forum.