New data shows the cost of private renting has got “out of control” in Scotland

Rents risen by one-third in Glasgow and Edinburgh since 2010

The Common Weal think-tank has responded to new data showing private rent costs continuing to rise in Scotland by  calling for “serious action” from local authorities and the Scottish Government to make housing affordable and deal with "out of control" costs.

The data, released today by the Scottish Government, shows a rent rise of 4.4% in 2016/17, the highest annual increase since 2010, with rises of 6.9% in the Lothians region and 7% in Greater Glasgow. In those two regions private rents have risen by one-third since 2010, while across Scotland private rents are one-fifth higher than at the start of the decade.

Commenting on the figures, Ben Wray, Common Weal Head of Policy and author of a recent report on living in the private rented sector, stated: “The cost of private rent has got out of control. For those struggling on low incomes, every pound extra spent on rent is a pound less on essentials like food and heating. While rents have risen by one-third in Edinburgh and Glasgow since 2010, wages have stagnated. It can’t go on like this.

“Local authorities with above inflation rent rises must use new powers to apply for a rent cap in their area immediately. Residents should use this new data to inform their local councillors of the need to apply for a rent cap.

“But this will not be sufficient. The rent cap only limits rents to inflation plus 1%. Currently that means 4%, but wages are not rising that fast. A cap will not make housing affordable for those who have experienced huge rises since 2010. Serious action is needed.

“The Scottish Government must get its priorities right – instead of more subsidies for property developers and landlords, as it has proposed to do with the new rental income gaurantee scheme, it must rapidly increase the size and speed of it social housebuilding programme.” Ben Wray

“The Scottish Government should strengthen rent controls by establishing a mechanism for tying rent prices to an index of affordability. And the Scottish Government must get its priorities right – instead of more subsidies for property developers and landlords, as it has proposed to do in the new Rental Income Guarantee Scheme, it must rapidly increase the size and speed of it social housebuilding programme.

“Social housebuilding can be made significantly cheaper by legislative change such as land value capture and compulsory sales orders which will reduce the cost of land in the construction process.”

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