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NUS Scotland calls on Scottish Government to protect student renters as industry body declares Scotland is in a housing emergency

students stood in corridor

As CHI Scotland (Chartered Institute of Housing) declares today that Scotland has moved past a housing crisis and is in the midst of a housing emergency, NUS Scotland reiterated its call for the Scottish Government to act urgently to support student renters.

While industry bodies like CHI Scotland and three local authorities (Argyll and Bute, Edinburgh, and Glasgow) have recognised Scotland is in a housing emergency, the Scottish Government seems to be ignoring the problem.

It is not a problem that students have been able to ignore. An NUS study found that a horrifying 12% of students in Scotland have experienced homelessness during their studies, which far exceeds the rate in the general population1. Further to that, student rents on average increased at three times the rate of student support between 2021 and 20232.

NUS Scotland has reiterated its asks for the Scottish Government to extend emergency protections for renters beyond the March 31 cliff-edge, for its upcoming Housing Bill to include rent controls that bring rents down to affordable levels, and to apply equally to purpose-built student accommodation as well as the private rented sector.

Commenting, NUS Scotland President Ellie Gomersall said:

“The housing emergency has been plain to see for students for years, but as three councils last year declared housing emergencies and the industry increasingly sees the scale of the problem, it’s essential that the Scottish Government takes its head out of the sand, declares a national housing emergency, and delivers urgent and radical action through the Housing Bill.

Renters are experiencing the sharp end of this crisis, especially student renters, and they must be the government’s first concern. As the emergency rent cap and eviction ban comes to an end, the Scottish Government must act quickly to extend real renter protections beyond March until they can introduce their Housing Bill.

To meet the scale of the challenge, the Housing Bill must not simply slow rent rises but bring rates down to an affordable level – and it must be free from loopholes which disadvantage students, and apply equally to purpose-built student accommodation.

Put simply, students can’t afford any more dither, delay and inaction – the Scottish Government must act now.”

112% of students had experienced homelessness (10%) or were currently homeless (2%), NUS Scotland cost of Survival Report: The Cost of Survival – NUS Scotland ( 

2 Between 2021 and 2023, student rents on average increased at three times the rate of student support (15% vs 5%), HEPI/Unipol report here.  

CIH Scotland to declare a ‘Housing Emergency’ at national conference | Chartered Institute of Housing

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