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Solidarity with the victims of Grenfell

Today, seven years on, we remember the Grenfell Tower fire, in which at least 72 people lost their lives.  Once again we express our solidarity with the bereaved, survivors and wider community of the Grenfell Tower in their ongoing search for justice.  Their fight is a fight that concerns every single one of us.  Continue reading

Our response to parliament's consultation on the Housing Bill

Throughout April until 17 May, Scottish Parliament surveyed tenants and landlords on their views on rent controls to scrutinise the bill. The evidence gathered from their survey will support or undermine the legislation. As a result, we organised a petition and asked people to support our response to the consultation. Continue reading

Pushed to the edge: Living Rent publishes findings from renters survey

Today we published the results from our renters survey where we asked tenants about their concerns regarding the end of emergency protections (April 2024) as well as their past experiences of eviction, rent increases, disrepair and barriers to renting.  Continue reading

The Scottish government finally published the Housing Bill! Here are our thoughts.

Yesterday, the Scottish Government published the long awaited Housing (Scotland) Bill this week!  Whilst there is much to be done to improve, it is a Bill that landlords are raging over, which is testament to the Bill’s radical potential. And let’s be clear, without us pushing and fighting for this over the last 10 years, rent controls would not be on the table. As ever, there’s more to fight for, but here are our thoughts on the bill and what needs to be done to improve it. Continue reading

The problem with rent adjudication

In two weeks, on 1 April, the Scottish Government will end the 3% rent cap which supported tenants through the worst cost of living in a generation. They will replace it with an arcane system (‘rent adjudication’) which fails to address many of the problems of the previous system and promises little stability or protection.   Continue reading

Living Rent launch open letter calling for protections after rent cap

Today, we launched an open letter calling for further emergency protections after the rent cap comes to an end on 31 March. Read the open letter in full below. Dear First Minister,CC:Patrick Harvie MSPPaul McLennan MSPShona Robinson MSPShirley-Ann Somerville MSP We write to you as trade and tenant unions, charities, and third sector organisations concerning Scotland’s rapidly worsening housing emergency. With three local authorities having declared housing emergencies, the ending of the emergency protections in the private rented sector, and inflation still greatly impacting the lives of people across Scotland, the Scottish Government must act now to prevent a series of disastrous consequences including escalating evictions, rapid increases in homelessness, and an overall rise in poverty.  This housing emergency has been decades in the making, and one born out of political choices. Through long-term, insufficient regulation in the private rented sector, Scotland has seen an extortionate rise in private rents year-on-year: rises which far exceed both inflation and wage increases. This is a trend across the UK, and Scotland’s people need to see parliament’s devolved powers on housing meaningfully put to work. While the unaffordability of renting is a historical problem, the cost of living crisis has made the pressures on tenants far more acute. In the past year rents across Scotland increased by 14.3%,  amounting to an average rent of £841 per month. Open market rent is significantly higher at an average of £1097 per month.  This pressure is heightened in urban areas, with Greater Glasgow rents rising  by 22.3%. In Lothian rents rose by 18.4% in the last year. It is important to note that these significant above-inflation rent hikes happened in the context of Scottish private rental sector stock increasing in number by 5,000 properties since Aug 2022. We know that unaffordable rents are a major driver of poverty. Housing is the largest financial outgoing in most households, and while low pay is the main cause of escalating poverty rates, our market-driven housing system is the main driver of both poverty and wealth. Scotland’s lowest paid workers are forced to pay a significant proportion of their incomes on rent, with those on the minimum wage paying 50% or more of their take home pay, often on poor quality, badly insulated housing.  When measured against the existing repairing standard in 2019, 50% of  Scotland’s housing stock - across all tenures - had disrepair to a critical element. This pressure is exacerbated  by over a decade of wage stagnation and increasing costs for essentials including energy, fuel, food, and childcare. This further impacts on poverty levels.  An estimated 11% of households in poverty were experiencing ‘very low’ food security – meaning that meals were skipped, or food intake reduced because the family could not afford enough food. The Scottish Government must deliver affordable, secure, quality housing in both the private and social sector if it is serious about achieving its 2030 poverty reduction targets.  The scale of this housing emergency has also placed considerable strain on our already-struggling local services. Local authorities  in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Argyll and Bute have stated that they cannot fulfil their statutory duties of housing all who present homeless. Ensuring that everyone has access to a safe and affordable home is vital for alleviating pressure on other local services.  The 2024 Scottish Homelessness Monitor suggests that homelessness will rise by 33% in Scotland this year. With bold leadership and vision, this can be prevented. We ask that you introduce a national rent cap until the introduction of  permanent and robust rent controls. Tenants across Scotland cannot afford to wait for change. The proposed  ‘transitional’ rent adjudication measures announced in January are confusing and difficult to enforce. As a result we will see people facing unaffordable rent increases up and down the country, which will act as de facto evictions and push more people into poverty.  You have the power to address this crisis. We urge you to consider the emergency that tenants are facing post March 2024 and intervene before it reaches every local authority in Scotland.  We would be pleased to meet with you to discuss robust and timely solutions to the housing emergency.  Kind regards, Ellinore Folkesson, Chair, Living Rent Roz Foyer, General Secretary, Scottish Trades Union Congress. Lilian Macer, Regional Secretary, UNISON Scotland Derek Thomson, Scottish Secretary, Unite Gordon Martin, Regional Organiser, RMT Scotland Jeanette Findlay, President, UCU Scotland Cat Boyd,  National Officer, PCS Scotland Rory Steel, Political Officer, GMB Scotland Craig Anderson , Regional Secretary for the Communication Workers’ Union in Scotland Lewis Clark, Chair, FBU Scotland East Area BD Owens, President, Scottish Artists Union  Jennifer McCarey, Chair, Glasgow Trades Council Ellie Gomersall, President, NUS Scotland Cathy Miller, Branch Secretary, UNISON NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde & CVS Branch, Sophie Watson, Branch Secretary, UNISON University of Glasgow Branch Amanda Cunningham, Unite CEC branch Miriam Brett, Co-director, Future Economy Scotland Jen Bell and Ryan Donachie, Co-convenors, Scottish Rainbow Greens Ryan Kelly, Co-convenor, Scottish Greens Trade Union Group Rob McDowall, Chair, Welfare Scotland Savan Qadir, Project Manager, Refugees for Justice    

Renters survey 2024

Calling all private tenants. At the end of March 2024, the Scottish government is ending the rent cap. In order to push the government to protect tenants after the rent cap ends we need to gather as much data as possible to show the government how badly further protections are needed. Fill out our survey now.   

EDINBURGH: Object to the Murrayfield Sports Bar being turned into student accomodation!


Leith's 2023 AGM!

On Thursday 7th September Living Rent Leith celebrated 1 year since their launch and set a vision for the next year.  Continue reading

Know your rights: rent Cap, joint tenancies, eviction ban

The Scottish government announced the rent freeze, which later became a rent cap, nearly a year ago. Here is a guide on what has happened to the legislation since then and what you need to know. All information is accurate as of 30 August 2023. Continue reading