Project Report

What do lower income tenants in Scotland’s private rented sector want to see from a new Rented Sector: Emergent findings briefing.



Simcock T, McKee K, Soaita A, Harris J, Moore T, Marsh A & James G (2021) What do lower income tenants in Scotland’s private rented sector want to see from a new Rented Sector: Emergent findings briefing.. UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence. Glasgow.

Introduction: The private rented sector (PRS) is now home to one in seven Scottish households. The sector has grown significantly over the last 15 years and now houses a diverse population, including families with children, low-income and other vulnerable groups, many of whom face difficulties in accessing other tenures (Cole et al., 2016; McKee et al., 2020; Soaita et al., 2020). Previous research underscores a range of challenges facing low-income private renters including: unaffordable rents, insecurity and precarity, and accommodation in disrepair (McKee et al., 2020; Moore & Dunning, 2017). Research draws attention to the intersections between housing, labour markets and the welfare state, with those experiencing precarious housing often also grappling with low-paid and insecure work (Hoolachan et al., 2017). Such households have also been amongst those hardest hit by successive waves of welfare reform, including the rollout of Universal Credit (O’Leary & Simcock, 2020). Across the UK, there has been legislative and regulatory reform to change the experience of private renting (Marsh & Gibb, 2019). In Scotland, significant reforms have included the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016, which introduced a range of changes including the new Private Residential Tenancy, Rent Pressure Zones, and changes to security of tenure. The Scottish Government has committed to publishing a new Rented Sector Strategy, that is informed by renters, and which will then inform a new Housing Bill in 2022. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation in partnership with the Scottish Government have commissioned us to undertake a research project to explore what people living on a low income want to see from further reform to the private rented sector in Scotland. Our research project has four key aims: • To identify the challenges faced by low-income renters in Scotland and the areas for change, • To explore the challenges and experiences faced by different equalities groups and their priorities for change, • To build the knowledge, capacity, and confidence of renters to enable them to represent themselves to policymakers in the co-production element of the research, and, • To bring renters and policymakers together to co-produce policy recommendations to address the challenges and areas for change identified. The purpose of this briefing is to provide a summary of emergent findings from the first phase of this research project to support policymakers at the Scottish Government in the drafting of the Rented Sector Strategy. Further in-depth analysis and findings will be available in our future outputs, including the interim report (anticipated to be published early 2022) and our final report (anticipated to be published early summer 2022).

private rented sector; Scotland; tenants; affordability

FundersJoseph Rowntree Foundation
Publication date20/12/2021
Publication date online20/12/2021
Publisher URL…fing_DEC2021.pdf
Place of publicationGlasgow

People (1)


Dr Kim McKee

Dr Kim McKee

Senior Lecturer, Housing Studies

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