Best Community Campaign

Rent freeze campaign by Living Rent

The rent freeze was a huge relief for thousands of tenants during this really scary cost of living crisis. It would not have been possible without the work of our members.

The Campaign

Scotland’s rent freeze was won after years of campaigning by organised tenants. This was done not just by lobbying politicians, speaking about the issue in the press and on social media but predominantly by members talking to other tenants, on the streets and at their doors, to build public pressure for the idea of rent controls and an emergency rent freeze.

Though rents have been unaffordable for some time, the issue was brought into sharp focus during Covid-19 and even more so during the cost-of-living crisis. As member after member saw their rents increased up to 40%, the campaign used these examples to show politicians how tenants could simply not afford to live with rents as high as they were.

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awards

Muirhouse action; Members at an action protesting lack of repairs in Muirhouse, Edinburgh; Andrew Perry, November 2020

We are very excited to be shortlisted and recognised amongst other great organisations. This is testament to the tireless work of thousands of our members and it’s wonderful for it to be recognised.”

awards

Muirhouse action; Members at an action protesting lack of repairs in Muirhouse, Edinburgh; Andrew Perry, November 2020

We are very excited to be shortlisted and recognised amongst other great organisations. This is testament to the tireless work of thousands of our members and it’s wonderful for it to be recognised.”

The Change

After months of pressure, in September 2022, the Scottish Government announced they would freeze rents in the private sector until March 2023. This was later extended until September.

In the last decade, rents in Scotland have shot up by over 60% in certain areas. Though unaffordable rents have been an issue decades in the making, it came to a head during Covid-19 when thousands of tenants were left without work and many landlords hiked up rents.

The issue grew during the cost-of-living crisis when many tenants saw their rent increased by up to 40%. Rising energy bills, increased inflation, and rising food prices, created a perfect storm of economic insecurity for too many tenants, who were forced to make hard choices about the bills they were able to pay. Facing high increases, many tenants were forced to move out of their homes in so-called ‘silent evictions’.

The introduction of the rent freeze gave many tenants the huge relief of knowing what their rent would be for the next six months and knowing that no rent increase could force them out of their homes.

The Future

The rent freeze has been a great sticking plaster over the issue of high rents over the last six months but, to bring about real change in the affordability and quality of Scotland’s housing, the campaign is now pushing for rent controls that tie the quality of the home to the amount the landlord is able to charge.

Who else was involved?

Our campaign for a rent freeze was supported by various MSPs, including Mercedes Villalba the Labour MSP for North East Scotland.