Scotland appoints minister for tenants’ rights

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Scotland has a new minister for ‘Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights’.

Patrick Harvie is a co-leader of the Scottish Green Party along with Lorna Slater. This appointment follows a power-sharing agreement between the Scottish National Party and the Scottish Greens.

Slater has been appointed minister for ‘Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity’.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon described the ministers’ new roles as at the heart of challenges facing the new government and said she expected them to contribute with ‘expertise and passion’

A junior minister reporting to Shona Robison and Michael Matheson in Scotland’s housing and net-zero department, Harvie will focus on improving the rights of tenants, energy efficiency and building standards.

‘I am thrilled at the opportunity to drive forward policies that enhance peoples’ lives while supporting the urgent goal of tackling the climate emergency as we emerge from the pandemic’, he said.

He had previously said that ‘the opportunity to strengthen the rights of tenants is a key part of the proposed power-sharing deal negotiated between the Scottish Greens and the SNP.

‘We’ll be able to restrict evictions, give tenants additional rights like decorating their homes and keeping pets, use proper enforcement against abusive landlords, and most importantly bring in a national system of rent controls.

‘That system could be based on affordability, in terms of average incomes. It could be based on a proportion of market value, with an element to cover landlords’ costs like insurance and maintenance. Or it could be designed to achieve overall house price stability, ending the overheating in some areas’.