More action should be taken to curb “out of control” rent rises, Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie has said.
During First Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Mr Harvie called on Nicola Sturgeon to introduce greater protections for tenants during the pandemic.
He said the Government’s policy of rent pressure zones has failed as no local authority has introduced one.
Rules allowing councils to ask for limited powers to restrict rent rises were introduced in 2016.
Saying the Greens had helped to introduce other rules protecting tenants, Mr Harvie asked: “There’s still more to do, what’s missing is serious action to tackle out of control rent rises.
“Does the First Minister accept that the idea of rent pressure zones has failed, given that there isn’t a single such zone operating anywhere in Scotland?
“What more does she plan to do to tackle rising rents and prevent people in the private rented sector from building up unmanageable debt?”
Ms Sturgeon responded: “I wouldn’t necessarily accept that the legislation which was put in place, including rent pressure zones, has been as Patrick Harvie characterises it.
“The onus and flexibility is on local authorities of course to take action where they consider it necessary and appropriate to do.”
However she accepted there is more the Government can do to help protect tenants.
She said: “I don’t close my mind and the Government doesn’t close its mind to doing more here, not just in the short-term of the pandemic but looking longer term about how we regulate the private rented sector.”
She added the SNP will put forward proposals for further action during the election.