Big rents rise adds to cost of liv­ing squeeze

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threaten to put peo­ple at risk of los­ing their home.

He said: “It is not the fault of renters that there is a mas­sive short­age of hous­ing. They shouldn’t face home­less­ness be­cause of a fail­ure of suc­ces­sive govern­ments to build enough af­ford­able homes.”

Mr Lang added pri­vate renters were the largest group who con­tacted the char­ity for help last year. “We al­ready know that a great many fam­i­lies are strug­gling day-to-day to keep a roof over their heads and rent rises like these will hurt those al­ready liv­ing on a knife-edge,” he added.

The fig­ures are based on ad­ver­tised rents for new lets and do not re­flect changes in rents for ex­ist­ing ten­ants. Of­fi­cial ONS statis­tics sug­gest rents across Scot­tish pri­vate rented house­holds have risen at less than half the rate in Eng­land.

But Scot­tish Labour’s hous­ing spokes­woman, Pauline McNeill, said the new fig­ures high­lighted the “chronic need” to in­tro­duce rent con­trols and start build­ing more hous­ing.

She said: “Many fam­i­lies are be­ing forced into the pri­vate rented sec­tor be­cause they can’t af­ford a mort­gage, yet the lev­els of rent mean they are un­able to save for a de­posit, trap­ping them in a cy­cle of de­spair they are un­able to escape.”

A new pri­vate res­i­den­tial ten­ancy is due to be in­tro­duced in Scot­land on De­cem­ber 1. This has been de­signed to give greater pro­tec­tion against un­rea­son­able rent in­creases.

A Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment spokesman said: “We have taken ac­tion to en­sure the law is strength­ened, in­clud­ing mea­sures to ad­dress ex­ces­sive rents where ap­pro­pri­ate.

“Im­por­tantly, ten­ants will be able to re­fer rent in­creases for ad­ju­di­ca­tion with­out fear of their ten­ancy be­ing ended. And it will in­tro­duce the abil­ity for lo­cal au­thor­i­ties to ap­ply to have ar­eas des­ig­nated as ‘rent pres­sure zones’, which will be a valu­able tool where rents are ris­ing sig­nif­i­cantly.” NI­COLA Stur­geon has sig­nalled a thaw in re­la­tions with Theresa May over Brexit, but said “sub­stan­tial” progress is still re­quired to avoid a con­sti­tu­tional cri­sis in the spring.

Af­ter a 45-minute meet­ing with the Prime Min­is­ter in Down­ing Street, the First Min­is­ter said she felt more hope­ful of reach­ing agree­ment on the main Brexit leg­is­la­tion.

Ms Stur­geon has called the EU (With­drawal) Bill a “power grab”, as it would see 111 de­volved pow­ers

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