Tenants’ Union Living Rent’s new Highlands and Islands branch held a street stall on Albert Street in Kirkwall on Saturday 3rd of July.
Taking care of all the public health covid restrictions the Orkney team were there to listen to the local community’s concerns around renting in Orkney, and across the Highlands and Islands.
The team heard stories of illegal evictions, difficulty finding housing, homelessness, fuel poverty and landlords neglecting repair jobs in Orkney.
See also: “One parent described the family as living in one room” : Shocking Report on Housing & Heating in Orkney
Members are demanding an increase in the social housing stock, tighter regulations for short-term lets, rent controls, and legislation to ensure improved quality of housing.
Living Rent member Emily said:
“Living Rent have been building power and have already made significant wins for tenants across Scotland.
“We know that housing is every bit as much a rural issue as an urban one, and the economy is clearly not working for island communities.
“We urgently need to adapt the methods and successes of Living Rent to address local needs, before more of us are driven into poverty by this predatory housing situation”.
Click on this link to access their Facebook page: Living Rent Highlands and Islands
Average rents have increased across the Islands and Highlands Scottish Government Statistics show.
Between 2019 and 2020 in the private rental sector the increases are:
- 1 bedroom (3.2%)
- 2 bedroom (1.1%)
- 3 bedroom (0.1%)
- 4 bedroom (1.6%)
- 1 bedroom shared properties (2.7%
Average rents have increased for all property sizes between 2010 and 2020, ranging from an increase of 18.8% for 1 bedroom properties to an increase of 32.6% for 1 bedroom shared properties. This compares to CPI inflation of 21.5% across this time period.Private rent sector statistics
Rising food prices and especially the costs to heat homes is putting people under extreme financial stress. The choice is between paying rent, eating or heating for many. The loss of employment due to the Covid pandemic has made this situation critical. All of this affects the physical and mental well being of people.
In the 1940s I attempted to escape, from tenements of Govanhill St., Glasgow, and then was able to start assist tenants in California – and subsequently in New Zealand – in helping getting some rights. I guess I should now be able to stretch out in my NZ senior citizen unit and remember as our shore Orkney beach experiences. I hope still such experiences are still being fought!