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Transform Scotland's housing

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Overview —

Scotland needs to radically transform the housing sector. From building energy efficient houses fit for the 21st century, through building communities rather than dormitories, to changing the way we rent and own property to avoid being exploited by private developers and landlords, Scotland has the opportunity to be truly transformative in a way that directly impacts the way that people live.

Scotland's housing is expensive, small and not particularly well built (by international standards). Much of our existing housing needs investment and improvement and we don't make enough of our current resources. There is lack of choice and our new-build housing is built without community in mind. If we build high-quality public rental housing, improve building standards, improve town planning and control the rises in house prices we can transform Scotland's housing for the better.

In February 2019, we published a policy paper in collaboration with Living Rent to call for the Scottish Government to introduce rent controls. The report shows that the Scottish Governments flagship “Rent Pressure Zones” are unworkable and calls for a new model of “proper rent controls”. Since the power to introduce Rent Pressure Zones came into effect in 2016 no local authority has successfully introduced one.

The Rent Controls Scotland Needs” argues that rent increases and endemic poor-quality housing has created a desperate need for European-style rent controls.

It also claims that tenants cannot wait for action, and urges the Scottish Government to move quickly to ensure affordable and high-quality housing by introducing country-wide rent controls.

Throughout 2019, Common Weal will be producing more papers on improving Scotland's housing drawing from the latest research in technology, finance and design.

Some examples include:

Using the Scottish National Investment Bank to revolutionise the public rented sector.

Meeting Scotland's energy efficiency, carbon emission and climate change targets by upgrading new building regulations.

Developing a methodology for retrofitting existing buildings to as high a standard as is technically feasible.

Changing the way we think about housing and the places we live by showing what a "Common Weal" community could look like.