Housing: Green MSP critical of Lothian rent rises

Alison Johnstone, Scottish Green MSP for Lothian, has slammed the eye-watering rent increases in the region, calling for urgent Government action to ensure affordability in the private rented sector (PRS).

Johnstone commented on new figures that show a 6.4% increase in rent for 2-bedroom properties in the region from 2014 to 2015, bringing rent up to £829 per month (note 1).

Lothian region has seen some of the worst rent increases in Scotland, with average rent levels rising by 24.7% in the past 5 years. The region is one of the few in Scotland where rent increases continue to outstrip inflation.

Johnstone called on the Scottish Government to take serious action to ensure that housing remains affordable to those who need to rent from the private sector. The Lothian MSP highlighted that the SNP should consider options for rent controls in the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Bill to be debated in the Scottish Parliament (note 2).

Alison Johnstone, MSP and Scottish Green candidate for Edinburgh Central for Holyrood 2016, said:

“With rising rents now eating up a huge proportion of people’s incomes, it’s crystal clear that the private rented sector is not an affordable or sustainable housing option for many Lothian residents.

“We’ve seen rapid growth in the private rented sector in recent years, with thousands of young people and families unable rent council housing or buy their own homes. At a time when wages are falling, employment is insecure and Westminster are robbing people of social security, we cannot let rent levels push people out of their homes and into poverty.

“We cannot let private profit margins decide who gets a roof over their heads – housing must be affordable to every single one of us, and we have to regulate the private rented sector accordingly. I urge the Scottish Government and local councils to support struggling private sector tenants, and make sure we introduce proper regulation on rent levels  through the new private tenancies bill.”