Edinburgh should be first city to be declared a rent pressure zone, say Greens

Edinburgh road-stockThe City of Edinburgh Council should be at the head of the queue to use new legal powers to tackle soaring rents in the private rented sector, the city’s Green councillors have argued.

New research published by the party shows that city rents have soared by 40% in the last seven years, far outstripping wages or general inflation.

As a result the whole city should by the first in Scotland to be declared a Rent Pressure Zone (RPZ), the party said.

In response to concern about rising private rents, the Scottish Parliament passed new legislation which allows councils to designate areas as RPZs, the effect of which is to limit rent rises in existing tenancies to no more than 1% above the rate of inflation.

Green housing spokesperson, Councillor Susan Rae, said: “Edinburgh has the biggest and most expensive private rented sector in Scotland. With an expanding population and especially with so many young people who cannot get close to affording to buy a home, it’s been a bonanza time for private landlords.

“So it is time to rebalance that. The power to introduce a rent pressure zone is a very modest step in the right direction but it shows that the days of charging whatever the market allows are numbered. That is why I was delighted the council backed me in calling for a rent pressure zone back in June. This report today shows just how much Edinburgh’s tenants need it.”

The report, by Edinburgh University student, Ben Parker, looks at rising rent costs in Edinburgh over the last seven years and shows how limiting rents to 1% above inflation would have helped tenants, both over those seven years and into the future.