Patrick Harvie: 'I know what it's like to be harassed out of rented flat'

The Scottish Greens co-leader said the rent freeze legislation 'means a lot' to him.

Patrick Harvie: ‘I know what it’s like to be harassed out of a rented flat’ Flickr

Patrick Harvie has spoken of being “harassed” out of a rented flat at short notice, as he said that the rent freeze and eviction ban introduced in Scotland “means a lot” to him.

Emergency legislation to temporarily cap rents and to place a moratorium on evictions amid the cost of living crisis was passed by MSPs at Holyrood last week.

The move is designed to protect renters against the risk of being unable to keep up with soaring prices.

It will remain in place until the end of March 2023, however ministers will have the ability to extend the legislation.

Harvie, Scotland’s tenants’ rights minister, has stated that the changes respond to an emergency situation in a “balanced way” reflecting the interests of both landlords and tenants.

Speaking at his party’s conference in Dundee on Saturday, the Scottish Greens co-leader spoke of his first-hand experience of being evicted.

“It’s one that means a lot to me personally. Like most people, I’ve had a patchy relationship with the private rented sector,” Harvie said of the passing of the legislation.

“I’ve had landlords who’ve been responsible and respectful and I’ve had landlords at the other end of the spectrum.

“I know what it’s like to be harassed out of a rented flat at short notice.

“And I was one of the lucky ones because I had family that I could go to for help.”

Harvie has been a Scottish Government minister for just over a year after his party agreed a deal with the SNP to enter government.

He explained that he would not have believed that Greens would have entered government during his younger days when his mum would go to party branch meetings.

“I’ve been in the Scottish Parliament a while now,” Harvie told delegates at the conference.

“I’ve seen majority, minority and coalition governments, and I’m thrilled that we now are in possession of taking the Greens into government.”

He added: “The wee kid who was sat in the back of somebody’s living room when my mum was going to Green branch meetings back in the 80s could not possibly have imagined to be able to use a phrase like Greens in government.”

Harvie also reaffirmed his party’s commitment to campaigning for Scotland to become independent.

“Scotland did not vote for Brexit. It did not vote for hostile immigration policies,” he said.

“It did not vote for Trident in our waters, but that is what we are set to get whether the winners of the next Westminster election wear blue or red.

“And that’s why we must have the right to choose a different path.

“This weekend, the Scottish Green Party recommit ourselves to a vision of independence that works for both people and planet.”

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