MSP calls for more to be done to tackle housing crisis

Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Emma Roddick has told the Scottish Government that the housing crisis cannot be solved by housebuilding alone, calling for ministers to work across portfolios to help people in the Highlands who are struggling to find an affordable place to live.

She highlighted the loss of properties which could be used as homes to the tourism sector, claiming that this skews the housing market and makes it harder for Highlanders to stay in their local area.

She said:

“Commitments to build social and affordable houses across Scotland will do wonders in attempts to claw back some balance in the housing market, but as wonderful as 110,000 new homes will be, it’s not enough.

“The constant loss of homes to absentee landlords in tourist hotspots and the fact that so many people are waiting on housing lists that you have to be homeless to get a council house half the time cannot be addressed by housebuilding alone, and, in terms of depopulation, a house expected in 2035 won’t stop people leaving the Highlands tomorrow.

“We have to make policy which puts the rights of tenants – people who are using houses as homes – far above the rights of landlords to own multiple properties with little regulation and assured increases in house prices.

“I urge the Scottish Government to work across portfolios on this – we need to tackle the housing crisis from all angles if we are going to make a difference.”

The MSP, who has described housing as her “top priority”, has previously called for stronger regulation of the short-term let sector, believing that a high number of these in one area should be cause for the local authority to refuse future applications to convert a home into an AirBnB.