Glasgow MSP Pauline McNeill is making another bid to get her Fair Rents Bill onto the statute books after it was thwarted by time constraints last month.
As the Scottish Parliament resumes this week after a short summer break, McNeill wants the Bill – which would cap rent rises at 1% above inflation and give renters protection against excessive or unfair rent increases – to be taken forward. It was halted from going through the Scottish Parliament by the local government committee, which blamed its failure on a heavy workload.
Scottish Labour’s housing spokeswoman says the pandemic has made a housing crisis even worse and that short-term measures for protection against eviction aren’t enough to protect people from rent rises they can’t afford.
Says McNeill: “The private rented sector accounts for three times the households it did 20 years ago. This Bill would stop exploitative rent increases and would take the condition of properties into account in setting rents to stop substandard accommodation being unfairly priced for rent because of the location or lack of availability.”
Govan Law Centre, which helped to draft the Bill, is seeking a judicial review into the committee’s decision and has served judicial review proceedings on the Scottish Parliament on behalf of a private renter in Edinburgh.
Mike Dailly, solicitor advocate at Govan Law Centre, says: “The Court of Session will be asked to decide if the local government committee acted unlawfully in considering the Fair Rents (Scotland) Bill in a secret session and deciding not to progress it.”