Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) has outlined 3 key steps to improve housing affordability for people on low incomes.
The charity backed capping private sector rent increases at the rate of inflation, called for more investment in social and affordable house-building, and for the end to the freeze on the local housing allowance so low income renters can access more assistance through housing benefit or Universal Credit.
The recommendations are carried in CAS’ submission to the consultation on the Fair Rents (Scotland) Bill.
The charity expresses partial support for the proposal to cap rents increases to help with predictability for tenants but warns it does little to help tenants already struggling on high rents.
CAS Social Justice spokesperson, Mhoraig Green, said:
“Advisers across the Citizens Advice network in Scotland help tens of thousands of people each year with housing issues, and it is clear to us from our client base that dealing with Scotland’s housing problems is a key step to protecting people’s quality of life and getting more money into their pockets.
“Our previous research indicates that 36 per cent of PRS tenants surveyed are struggling to manage financially, with many spending less on food and other essentials to pay their rent
“The proposed Fair Rents Bill includes some welcome steps, such as expanding the landlord registration scheme and attempting to offer predictability in rent to tenants, however we need to see more done make housing more affordable.
“That means building more affordable and social homes and ending the freeze on the local authority housing allowance so more people can access financial support for their rent.
“In the meantime, if people need help with their housing costs, they can get advice and support from their local Citizens Advice Bureaux.”