Ministerial Foreword - Patrick Harvie
I believe that access to adequate housing is a fundamental human right, one that underpins the health, wellbeing, happiness and life-chances of people everywhere.
As we build towards a greener, fairer, independent Scotland – whilst making plans to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic – we have an opportunity and a responsibility to ensure our policies and services have people at the centre and to target support to those in most need. That is why this strategy aims to deliver a new deal for tenants. It represents an important part of delivering the Housing to 2040 strategy and is a central part of the cooperation agreement between the Scottish Government and the Scottish Green Party Parliamentary Group.
The strategy sets out the role rented housing will play over the next five years as we plan for a green economic recovery from the pandemic, respond to the climate emergency and to create a fairer country. The time is right to do more for people who rent their homes – to ensure everyone has a safe, high quality home that is affordable and meets their needs in a place they want to be.
Over that time, our new deal for tenants in Scotland will give them more secure, stable, affordable tenancies with improved standards of accommodation and more flexibility to personalise their homes.
Improving affordability by introducing an effective national system of rent controls is a key aim. It will take time to assemble the evidence we need but we have set out some shorter term reform too.
Our new deal for tenants will also improve security. We will review the grounds leading to an end of tenancy; deter landlords from undertaking illegal evictions by increasing penalties and compensation for tenants; and will build on the success seen in preventing evictions during the pandemic by considering new restrictions to evictions in winter.
To embed a strong, rights based approach, we will also introduce a new housing regulator for the Private Rented Sector, to improve standards and to ensure the system is fair.
To realise our aims, we must act to continually improve the fairness of the terms on which homes are rented and to ensure tenants’ rights to an adequate home is properly respected.
We want to look closely at how the housing market is currently working and how we can work with landlords, letting agents, tenants and wider civic society to improve outcomes for people who rent their home.
Above all, tenants’ experiences must be central to improving our understanding and we will be looking at a range of new ways to ensure tenant voices are central to how we shape our future policy and legislation.
This draft strategy consultation sets out an ambitious set of proposals for the phased implementation of a plan, over the next five years, to ensure that the rights and needs of people who rent homes in Scotland are met.
It is important, therefore, that we gather the broadest range of views, experiences and evidence as we develop the final strategy on a new deal for tenants, which we aim to publish by the end of 2022.
I encourage you to respond to the consultation and look forward to hearing your views.
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