LANDLORDS breaking out the tiny violins and moaning about the rent freeze should not expect any sympathy - they've fleeced their tenants for long enough.

I have lived in a rented property since 2008 when I left Dumfries and moved to Glasgow to study. My dad has frequently likened the halls at Murano Street to 'Prison cell block H' and he wasn't wrong, it was all downhill from there. 

Six months into my first private rental experience, we were served eviction notices from the bank - our landlord hadn't been paying the mortgage.

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He charged us less than it cost to repay, pocketed the cash, and then disappeared.

My next flat in Dennistoun had mouldy walls, and windows that didn't open properly and we had to pay in cash. I heard rats scratching through the walls more than once. It cost £400pm.

When my now-husband and I moved into our first home together in Allison Street, Govanhill, in 2013, we paid £450 a month for a one-bedroom top-floor flat.

I loved that flat because of the memories we made there, and that they only put the rent up once in five years, by £25. After we left they raised the rent from £475 to £550 for the next tenants.

The National: The FM announced a rent freeze as part of the Scottish Government's plans for the next parliamentary termThe FM announced a rent freeze as part of the Scottish Government's plans for the next parliamentary term (Image: PA)

We begrudgingly left because I was offered my first reporter job in Edinburgh. We only lasted 14 months due to how expensive it was. We were paying £795 a month for a tiny one-and-a-half bedroom flat where the kitchen had no window.

When we were moving out, the letting agent patronisingly ran her finger around the inside of the rubber ring of the washing machine barrel, said it wasn't up to standard and if we didn't fix it they would bring in a cleaning crew and charge us for the privilege.

Any landlord or letting agent who claims their main prerogative isn't to make cash is at it.

Let's jump forward to where I am now - Shawlands, one of the upcoming parts of Glasgow, and a 15-minute walk from our Allison Street flat.

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We agreed to the £795 rent here for two reasons - the flat was double the size of the one we had in Edinburgh and it was in an area that we loved. We were homesick and desperate to flee from the capital and restart our lives here.

Less than three years later, immediately after the pandemic eased and as the cost of living crisis began creeping in - my letting agents informed me my rent was going up by £55 per month to £850. That's £10,200 a year. It enrages me that money could go to a deposit on a house.

I did some calculations. My landlord bought the flat for £150,000 from the people living here before us, I know this because I'm nosey by nature.

The National: Rental prices are rising across Scotland - not just in citiesRental prices are rising across Scotland - not just in cities (Image: PA)

If my landlord put down £15,000 (10%), he's probably paying back approximately £630 a month on the mortgage. Letting agents charge between 12% and 20% of the overall rent - so let's use a mid-range 15% as an example.

Each month, my letting agent makes around £127.50 and my landlord gets £92.50 in profit (after the mortgage has been paid, by us).

That's £2640 a year, £1530 for the agents and £1110 for the landlord. I have numerous required minor repairs that I've spent months pestering about and had two different men come round to give me "quotes", it is not worth what I am paying.

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It should be noted that this is a conservative estimate - my landlord could have paid a bigger deposit.

I've even had a wooden blind fall from the 10ft ceiling onto my head, hospitalising me with a fractured skull that I had glued back together. The ones they replaced them with now don't work.

So, forgive me if I have little patience for landlords claiming they will leave properties empty in protest at the rent freeze announced by the First Minister. If it was up to me I would bring them back into public ownership and banish private landlords.

They've done nothing to prove they deserve any grace from the rest of us, and I'm sure my fellow renters will agree.