It’s always exciting in the office in the run up to a campaign launch. A real team effort across the whole of Shelter Scotland and a burst of creativity and frantic planning as policy ideas morph into campaign realities. There’s always a buzz, but this week it feels just a little bit different because this campaign could help create a change that would make a difference for hundreds of thousands of people across Scotland.

The change we’re seeking, for all private renters across Scotland, is huge. It’s the culmination of 10 years’ work with partners across the sector to get a consensus (of sorts) on the current flaws but more importantly the huge potential in our flourishing private rented sector (PRS).

So we’re launching Make Renting Right to improve, professionalise and reform private renting for the 312,000 households in Scotland who call it home and the 100,000 or so landlords who rent out their properties.

We know that more and more people are choosing private rented homes, the number of families with children in the PRS has more than doubled in the last 10 years. With social house-building at a crisis low and buying a property out of reach for many in the current climate, privately renting your home is no longer the preserve of students and part-time workers and that is why we need to make sure the sector works.

To Make Renting Right, Shelter Scotland wants to see:

1. Stability for people wanting to make rented housing their home
2. Flexibility for people to stay in their home as long as they need to
3. A modern tenancy that gives security and flexibility for tenants AND landlords
4. A fair system for sorting out renting problems when they occur
5. Predictable rents for tenants and landlords

The current tenancy regime allows landlords to kick tenants out for no reason, even if they plan to continue to rent out the property and we want a better balance of the rights and responsibilities between tenants and landlords. We want to see a sector that offers stability for people who want to make rented housing their home and settle in their communities, whether that’s children settled in school, or a home close to work.

A modern tenancy, fit for purpose, would mean a fairer system and quicker dispute resolution when problems do occur and a more predictable structure for rents which would give security to tenants and landlords.

And we’re not alone, the Scottish Government also has a vision for reforming the PRS and is currently consulting on what a new PRS tenancy could look like. We would encourage people to respond to this – now is the chance to have your say and to feed into this critical process for changing the current regime.

We have been and will continue to work across the sector to ensure that any forthcoming legislation is fit for purpose and workable for a sector which is continuing to grow. It is great to see housing – and especially private rented housing, high on the political agenda.

Over the next few months, we’ll be meeting with politicians, organisations and individuals asking them to support out campaign to Make Renting Right. And you can help – by signing up to the campaign following us on social media #rentingright or letting us know about your experiences in private rented housing.

So, amidst the flurry of campaign launch logistics, flyers being printed and blogs being written….it is very exciting to know that change is certainly coming.

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