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Tenants' union accuses housing association of taking advantage of pandemic to increase rents

A SCOTTISH housing association has been accused of taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to increase rents.

Today Living Rent condemned Govan Housing Association’s decision to announce an increase in social rents for tenants amid the Covid-19 outbreak. 

The tenants’ union, whose branch in Govan has been actively campaigning for rent levels to be frozen in the area, praised much of the work by the social landlord during the pandemic. 

But Living Rent said that the decision to raise rents by 3 per cent during this time could cause a crisis for residents.

Organiser George Lavery said: “They have chosen to totally ignore the rights and interests of their tenants in this matter. 

“They have raised rents way above inflation during a pandemic, in a time when many people won’t be able to pay, even if they were to stay the same.”

The housing association announced last week that it would pause the planned rent increase until July, telling the Morning Star that it was “inundated dealing with crisis situations” and was fully supporting and targeting” tenants.

Managers offered an invitation to Living Rent to discuss any concerns that they had during the pandemic, but said that there was no overwhelming support for a rent freeze among tenants. 

Living Rent disputes this, having collected consultation responses on the topic.

Mr Lavery said: “We’d like to see the rent increase cancelled. Their decision to postpone this rent increase is nothing more than a PR exercise. It is damage control. 

“From the responses we got, there was clear evidence the majority are in favour of a rent freeze. This was a foregone conclusion.”

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