The fight for our cities vacant land

Across Scotland, we have seen over 66 000 public homes being demolished, leaving large vacant land sites like gapping holes throughout our communities. Despite the housing crisis that Scotland faces, neighbourhood branch after branch sees these plots being prioritised for buy-to-let and luxury developments, in an ongoing attempt by city planners to 'mix' our communities, bringing in more expensive housing instead of the genuinely affordable homes we need.This is why across Glasgow, members are rising up to fight for this land to be prioritised for social and public housing, built to the highest environmental standards and reflecting our needs and vision. Continue reading

Fix our Homes - Getting our homes fit for the future

Refurbishment - making our homes more energy efficient - presents a huge and 'shovel' ready opportunity for Scotland to tackle fuel poverty as well as the health impacts related to poor housing conditions, whilst taking head on the combined threats of climate change and the economic crises resulting from the global pandemic and Brexit.Several branches of Living Rent are taking this challenge head on: asking for the total refurbishment of their blocks, the changing of drafty windows and the implementation of district heating schemes. This is also a key challenge of private sector homes and as Scotland prepares to host COP 26, members throughout Scotland are organising to get the government to commit to ambitious refurbishment targets, in order to deliver the homes Scotland needs. Continue reading

No evictions under Covid restrictions

During the pandemic, members and tenants have been at the forefront of fighting against evictions and ensuring that no one would be made homeless in the midst of a pandemic. Members first won the first eviction ban in Scotland's history in March 2020. Since, we have been organising up and down the country to get these protections extended. From September 2020 until March 2021, members supported each other when threatened with eviction, won a further ban of evictions from the 9th of December and managed to get it extend in January 2021 and then again in March 2021 to ensure that no tenants would evicted during a pandemic. Continue reading

Making the case for rent controls

Living Rent built itself notably on the sustained efforts by tenants between 2014 and 2016 to shape the 2016 Private Housing Act. After a two year long campaign for secure, quality and affordable housing, the union won legislation which provided more secure tenancies and a first attempt towards rent controls: the rent pressure zones. This was a real victory for the tenants' movement: after 30 years, rent controls were on the table again as a sensible solution to tackle the housing crisis! Continue reading

Up the standards: Fight for a better standard of repairs

Across our branches, one issues that keeps coming up is the poor standard of repairs across social and public housing. Tenants are made to live in house unfit for occupation: ongoing damp, black mould, leaks and recurring poor standards of repairs leave tenants facing enormous heating bills, health issues from the damp and mould as well as stress of having to live in such conditions. Local member defence teams support tenants to fight for individual repairs, however we know that broader structural changes are needed too. Continue reading

Protecting tenants during the pandemic

In March 2020, like so many people across the world, our lives were up-ended by the Covid-19 pandemic.As Scotland and the rest of the UK prepared for lockdown, we knew that tenants across Scotland would be the worst hit and that protection against evictions were direly needed. When staying at home was the best way to stop the spread of the virus, it was essential for homes to be secured. Continue reading

Tackling short-term lets

Across Scotland, but particularly in Edinburgh and the Highlands, more and more housing is being used as holiday accommodation for growing numbers of tourists. Due to the housing crisis, Living Rent has long-held that these properties should first and foremost be long-term affordable homes rather than holiday lets. Continue reading

No SERCO evictions - Holding corporate power to account

In September 2019, Serco’s Home Office contract to house asylum seekers came to an end, in part as a result of the pressure exerted by public campaigning led by a coalition of refugee and asylum seeker advocacy groups, of which Living Rent was part. Mears Group secured the tender for the new contract and, despite mass public outrage at Serco’s handling of the situation, still failed to find a solution to house the 300 tenants under threat, enabling Serco to carry out evictions.  As Living Rent had established in 2018 when this issue first arose, members of Living Rent Glasgow were committed to resisting this policy of forced destitution, and we launched a summer offensive campaign of direct action to defend our neighbours and communities.This fight continues, led by the No Eviction network, see here.   Continue reading