The green party in Scotland has launched an all-out war against landlords and the private rented sector during its online-only national conference over the weekend.

The Scots arm of the Green Party in the UK has six MSPs, and its housing spokesperson Andy Wightman, who is MSP for Lothian, gave a tub-thumping speech to the party’s supporters yesterday, calling for radical measures on housing.

Blaming Scotland’s poverty problems squarely on high rents and landlords’ ability to evict via ‘no fault’ notices, Wightman said it was time for the party to offer a ‘new deal for housing’ to voters.

This is to include rent controls, giving tenants the right to request rent reductions if they are struggling financially, and preventing landlords from evicting tenants when they want to sell their property.

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Wightman also heavily criticised the Scottish National Party (SNP) for its approach to the private rental sector during the Covid pandemic.

Landlords

This includes: “Standing up for landlords when the pandemic hit us whilst joining with the Tories to block my proposals for better protection for tenants,” he said.

“In no other country in Europe would a Private Sector Resilience group set up to safeguard tenants during the coronavirus pandemic have no representatives of tenants on it.

“The odds are always stacked in favour of the wealthy, whether they be the big land owners, landlords, or corporates. And As a result, the rich get richer and the poor poorer.

“This is not an accident. It’s a policy choice. Time and time again we’ve seen the SNP choose to side with powerful vested interests rather than the public interest.”

Read more: Stop hitting landlords over the head with a stick, industry urges.

7 COMMENTS

  1. “This is to include rent controls, giving tenants the right to request rent reductions if they are struggling financially, and preventing landlords from evicting tenants when they want to sell their property.”

    Andy Wightman – you need your bumps feeling. This is absolutely crazy and will ensure landlords sell up at the first sign of problems with their tenants.

    You’re asking landlords to , in effect, give the tenants money if they’re struggling financially! What planet are you on?

  2. Where will these tenants live when all the LLs have sold up? For ‘Green Party’ read ‘Communist Party’! Fortunately they are unelectable so its all moot!!

    • I’m guessing the Green Party would hope that private landlords ended up selling to social landlords.

      You’re right though, it’s easy to come up with radical arguments when you’re not the party in power.
      They criticize the SNP, but the SNP have the disadvantage of actually being in government, so they need to retain tax revenue.

  3. I agree with not evicting tenants, just to sell a property as vacant possession.
    Residential rental property should be sold to another landlord, without affecting the tenants. It can become a slightly separate asset class to residential owner occupied property.
    A bit like common and preferred stock.

    • If the landlord could only sell to another landlord, would another landlord want to buy a property where the rent has dropped? Having got a new landlord can the tenant then, again, obtain a further rent reduction? Dictating who can sell what to whom is a ridiculous idea.

      • The rent reductions and the secure (assured shorthold type) tenancies are two different things.

        However, in answer to your question: Yes, a landlord would be willing to buy a property where the rent was low, but obviously the market purchase price for the property would be lower, in order to preserve the yield.

  4. Rent reductions based on tenant’s income makes no sense.
    That is a matter between the tenant and the DWP / LHA / housing benefit department.
    If tenants can’t afford to pay their rent and the government wishes to help, then increase their LHA. And if the government thinks landlords are taking in too much money, then tax landlords more.

    We already have a tax and benefits system for dealing with these issues.

    No need to reinvent the wheel.

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