The Scottish Labour candidate, backed by supporters of Jeremy Corbyn, has called for more stringent rental controls to be introduced in Scotland, in order for housing to be made more affordable in the country.
Richard Leonard, who launched his campaign for the Scottish Labour leadership on Saturday, believes that a rental cap would prevent rogue landlords from ripping off their tenants.
Mr Leonard observed that he would like to see: ‘Legislation to enact stringent rent controls and measures to encourage landlords to improve properties.’
Writing for iNews, Mr Leonard said that he wants to create a ‘Mary Barbour Law,’ named after the celebrated activist who led protests against rental rises in Glasgow during WW1.
Under his plans, a national regulator would be introduced in order to assess the fairness of rental hikes from landlords against an index, informed by a range of factors, such as inflation and benefit levels.
Any landlords wishing to introduce above-index rental rises would then have to justify these to the regulator, by demonstrating how the property has been improved.
In the piece, Mr Leonard said: ‘I want to see legislation to enact stringent rent controls and measures to encourage landlords to improve properties: a ‘Mary Barbour’ law.’
‘There will of course be howls of outrage from the rentier interest. But if we are to be a movement for real change, we must be prepared to face down the complaints of the few in the interests of the many.’
‘We as a party can live up to the example set by ‘Mrs Barbour’s Army’ and show at least the level of determination and ambition of the women of the Glasgow slums a century ago.’