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Scots housing reform to focus on rented sector

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Scotland is to introduce private rented sector reforms ‘early in the next parliament’, Housing Minister Kevin Steward has promised.

Subject to re-election, the Government will bring forward a new Housing Bill that will implement a new strategy for Scotland’s rented sector. This is to be set out in Housing to 2040 – Scotland’s promised first long-term housing plan.

Tenants will be closely involved in the development of the strategy with a national network of social rented tenants developed alongside a Tenant Participation Panel, said Stewart, speaking at the Chartered Institute of Housing’s virtual Scotland’s Housing Festival 2021.

‘Housing to 2040 sets out Scotland’s approach to improving the nation’s housing over the next two decades, and making improvements in the rented sector is a vital part of that’, he said.

‘It will set out our plans to develop a new Rented Sector strategy that will improve accessibility, affordability and standards across the whole rented sector, so we can increase affordability and quality of choice when finding a home. 

‘In the private rented sector, we need to address the economic impacts of the pandemic and ensure homes are affordable now and in the long term.  Local authorities need to be able to tackle unreasonably high rents, so we will also reshape the existing Rent Pressure Zone legislation to make it an effective tool for them to use.

‘Subject to the outcome of the election, we will make sure this is in law by bringing forward a new Housing Bill early in the next parliament, which will also strengthen the rights of tenants with greater protections from unreasonable rent increases and unfair evictions’.