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This month we hosted our revamped private tenants forums. I was lucky enough to speak to people in Stirling, Glasgow and Edinburgh about their experiences of the private renting sector and hear about what they would like – both from the forum and from renting.

One of the stand out issues for me was that the same concerns were repeated again and again – people wanted to feel at home in their houses. They wanted to know they weren’t going to be made homeless if they raised a complaint, they wanted to be able to decorate, to have pets. They wanted to put down roots and make a life for themselves in their communities. They wanted to know that they weren’t being exploited, that they weren’t paying for poor quality housing. They wanted to know that they had rights and that they could speak to their landlord if problems arose. Having security was top of the list, reflecting current changes at the political level with a new bill due in the Autumn.

Good, affordable, safe and secure housing is at the heart of our wellbeing – without it, our education, our employment, our relationships and self-esteem suffers, and what private tenants told me again and again was that they just want somewhere clean, safe, comfortable and affordable to come home to. Everyday things like putting up pictures or getting a cat might seem small, but it’s these touches of personalisation that are really important in making a house a home.

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We also talked about where next for the national private tenants forum, and how people could get involved in the future – whether that might be meeting with MSPs or developing campaigns, or coming together to share experiences of what it means to be a long term renter. In fact, we even built ourselves our very own PRS tenants forum house!

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The forums have really reaffirmed for me that there is a desire in Scotland for private tenants to come together to influence change. With lots of exciting ideas, I’m confident that the private tenants forum will grow into something truly innovative, ensuring that renting works for everyone. Watch this space!

If you’d like to get involved with the private tenants forum, sign up online.

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