Over the last few months, we’ve been working with folk with experience of private renting in Scotland to understand more about how they feel about their housing, using photography. We wanted to find new ways to hear from groups of people who might not normally take part in government consultations or policy reviews. We wanted to put the power (and the camera!) in their hands to truly understand what they want to change and how we can support that.

With the help of Open Aye we worked with families, young people and LGBT groups in Renfrewshire, Edinburgh and Linlithgow. They told us that affordability, accessibility, suitability, discrimination and external factors – such as green space and facilities – are important to them. They told us that housing is a human right and that they deserve somewhere decent to call home.

We can’t get into social housing now.”

“We can’t get into social housing now.”

These powerful images and captions will be displayed at the Scottish Parliament tonight. We’ll also be hosting local exhibitions in the New Year across Scotland, inviting renters and decision makers to come and chat about their experiences, as well as the photos themselves.

We want to use these images as a springboard for more conversations, more learning, so we can take these experiences to decision makers to make real and meaningful change.

On these five themes we’ll be focussing our future project work on:

  • Making the case for local authorities to support and develop good practice with landlords and letting agents, building on the fantastic work our Private Landlord Support Officers have already started in Dundee and Lochaber.
  • Exploring attitudes to social security in the private rented sector as well as supporting letting agents who let property to tenants who may need an extra element of help, improving access to private renting.
  • Ensuring private renting is part of the broader conversation around human rights and equality in Scotland.
  • Ensuring that there is sufficient provision of suitable affordable housing for all, and that tenants are not discriminated against.
  • Making sure green space and parks are integral parts of policy and practice around house building – not just an add-on.

If you’d like to share your story about private renting, or find out when the images will be on display in place near you, check us out on Facebook and sign up to our newsletter.

To find out more about Shelter Scotland’s private renting project work please contact James Battye, Private Renting Project Manager, email: james_battye@shelter.org.uk.