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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

New crisis for social housing in Scotland

This news post is almost 9 years old

​Private rentals at a new record as social housing rentals unable to meet demand

A new housing crisis is facing Scotland as more Scots are being forced into the private rented sector as social housing becomes increasingly unable to cope with demand.

Figures from the Scottish Household Survey reveal that just one in four households are renting from the social rented sector as opposed to one in three last year.

At the same time households turning to the private sector has nearly tripled from 120,000 in 1999 to 330,000 last year.

It has led to housing charities renewing their call for more affordable homes to be built urgently across the country.

Shelter director Graeme Brown said a chronic shortage of affordable homes continues to drive more and more households into Scotland’s private rented sector and that long-term not short-term housing was needed.

We want to see a sector that provides long-term homes, not short-term housing - Graeme Brown

He said: “Too often we hear of people being moved on, evicted or rents increased unreasonably, forcing people into the disruptive cycle of having to move house - every six months in some cases - preventing them from ever being able to put down strong roots and being part of a community.

“We want to see a sector that provides long-term homes, not short-term housing, for the growing number of households that rely on it for a home.”

Shelter is calling for at least 10,000 new social homes every year for the foreseeable future to be built to avert what it believes could be a housing crisis.

Alan Stokes, policy lead for the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, said the decline in the social rented sector was “highly likely” a result of the lack of affordable social housing in the country.

He said that despite the SFHA both working with members and the Scottish Government to increase the amount of social housing a significantly higher number of homes than are currently being built were needed.

“Investing in housing also has many economic benefits, and good quality housing can improve a person’s health and life chances,” said Stokes.

The Scottish Government said it is “working hard to tackle the shortfall of affordable housing” and added it had delivered 18,670 homes for social rent by March this year as part of its overall commitment to building. In the lifetime of this parliament, planned investment in low-cost homes will exceed £1.7 billion.

A spokesperson added: “Through our strategy for the housing sector, we have built more affordable housing and taken action to attract more investment to build more new homes to rent.

“We will shortly be introducing a bill to parliament to create a new private rental tenancy. This bill will improve security for tenants in their homes, include proposals to protect tenants against excessive rent rises, and ensure balanced, appropriate safeguards for landlords and investors.”