Beamish welcomes rent reform

South Scotland MSP Claudia Beamish has backed plans to reform the private rented sector in Scotland.

Scottish Labour is proposing amendments to the Housing (Scotland) Bill to cap rent rises. There are 10,000 private rented households in South Lanarkshire.

The MSP is also backing proposals to make 3 years the market standard for renting tenure in Scotland to offer renters in South Lanarkshire peace of mind in their homes.

The Scottish Government voted against these plans at the Stage 2 reading of the Housing Bill, but Scottish Labour will table them again for the third and final reading. Ms Beamish said it is calling on the Government to back the proposals to deliver a fairer deal for families across Scotland.

Recent studies have shown that over 100,000 private rented households in Scotland live in poverty, and renters cut back on food and heating bills to pay rent.

Commenting on the issue, Claudia Beamish MSP said: “With increased house prices and long waiting lists for social housing, many families have no choice but to turn to the private rented sector.

“Research indicating that 40% of those who rent privately are in poverty is deeply concerning and is unacceptable that many are forced to choose between heating their home and feeding their family.

“There is clearly a need for action to address the situation. Capping rent costs and offering greater security of tenure are practical steps that would offer these families a home, not just a roof over their heads.

There are 10,000 people renting privately in South Lanarkshire and we can deliver positive change for them now. The Scottish Government were wrong to vote against these plans and I will campaign to see them delivered through the Housing Bill. It’s time to stand up for Scotland’s renting families.”

Also as part of the Housing Bill, Ms Beamish lodged amendments to introduce minimum energy efficiency standards to the private rented sector, including flatted properties. Commenting on these proposals, she continued: “Increased energy efficiency standards in privately rented homes would have the benefit, not only of ensuring people are more comfortable in their homes, but also of helping to reduce fuel poverty and combat climate change.

“I welcome concessions from the Scottish Government that would allow them to change standards in future but believe that action is needed more urgently on this issue. I was therefore disappointed that my proposals were voted down but I will argue for them again when the bill progresses to stage 3.”