As our bills climb beyond what many of us can afford. Landlords are raising rents, greedily profiting off our basic need for a roof over our heads.
All across Scotland, landlords are hiking up rents. A report by Citylets found that rents across Scotland rose by 8.5% in the last year to average £896 a month; whilst in Edinburgh rents rose by 14.2% to average £1214 and in Glasgow rents rose by 16% to average £972 per month.
Rent was already too high, but it is becoming unlivable. Such increases are well beyond inflation and far out-strip any wage increases. The inflation and the energy crisis have left many worrying how they will be able to afford to heat their homes this winter, and with the news that the energy price cap is going to be raised to £2,800 this October, it is clear that the government needs to take action.
Though the Scottish government has committed to introducing rent controls by 2025, this is too late when landlords are hiking rents to obscene levels now.
To force the government’s hand, we need to do two things:
We need to show the extent to which rent is being increased across the country and we need to show what rent increases mean for renters and their families.
If you have had your rent increased, fill in the form here.
As one respondent said:
"The landlord increased our rent from £650 to £750. They are simply price gouging us. The apartment is mouldy and the heaters are not efficient enough to keep us warm during the winter. There are three heaters in the house and even when used at full power they struggle to raise the temperature by more than 2 to 3 degrees. With the cost of energy increasing, you can imagine how much this costs. Last year, at Christmas, the temperature went down to 0 degrees. Even our clothes and shoes were mouldy. The energy bills are becoming so insane that we cannot shower everyday anymore. To survive last winter, I also had to apply cling film across the windows to act as a DIY double glazing and add blankets on the door to insulate the rest of the apartment. Even with this, the temperature barely reached 11 degrees so we had to wear thermals and gloves inside.
I am currently unemployed. I can afford to stay thanks to my partner's job, but the increase, when combined with the energy crisis, is currently putting intense pressure on our financial situation.
Because of all this, we have considered leaving Edinburgh. Though it is a city we truly love, Edinburgh is being destroyed by rent hikes and Airbnb. In the area where I live, some blocks have up to 30% of their apartments rented as Airbnbs. To put it simply, our communities are being destroyed by greed and by governmental inaction.
But telling the government that rents are rising will not be enough. To see change, we need to build real, lasting strength in our communities, and ensure that no one is left behind.
As we are seeing across the country, as individuals we are unable to stop landlords hiking our rent. The current protections from rent increases don’t work. Landlords can raise rents once a year in line with (unaffordable) market rates and referring your rent to a rent officer often doesn’t work: they are overstretched and are obligated to examine ‘market levels’.
The only way we can stop them is by joining with others in the same situation, work to fight increases and put in laws to bring rents down to an affordable level.
Now is the perfect time to get involved with your tenants union as only together are we able to stand up to landlords and big corporations.
For an hour's wage a month, (or what you can currently afford) join Living Rent and add your weight behind the call for rent controls and greater protections now.
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