THE Scottish Government has confirmed plans to introduce “long-term” rent controls in a raft of new housing policies aimed at tackling homelessness.

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday, Humza Yousaf said his government would introduce a major new housing bill to introduce new regulations for landlords as well as cash for housebuilding.

The First Minister said the bill would include rent controls and create new rights for tenants.

He also announced investment of £750 million for new “affordable” homes – 10% of which would be located in rural and island communities.

The Scottish Government aims to build 110,000 affordable homes by 2032.

Unveiling his Programme for Government, Yousaf told MSPs the Scottish Government would also give councils the power to hike council taxes on second homes and he committed £60m to acquire empty properties to be converted into affordable housing.

Aditi Jehangir, secretary of tenants’ union Living Rent, welcomed the move and urged the Government to “make sure this legislation delivers for tenants”.

She said: "The commitment to rent controls today is exactly the type of leadership we need to address the scale of the housing crisis.

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For the reforms to the private sector to work, tenants need robust legislation. We need a system of rent controls that protects all tenants, not just sitting ones, brings rents down, and forces up quality.

“We need better protections against evictions, clear timelines for repairs and the right to make our houses homes. And across all of these reforms, we need enforcement mechanisms that ensure that landlords respect the law.

“These reforms of our broken housing system are long overdue and it is tenants who have paid the price. The Scottish Government must now seize the opportunity, and support the hundreds of thousands of people stuck in poor quality, unaffordable housing, and Living Rent members will be working hard across the country to make sure this legislation delivers for tenants."