SNP pledges to restrict private rents in Edinburgh if returned to power

SNP councillors have pledged to restrict private rents in Edinburgh if they are returned to power in the local elections next month.

Adam McVey, leader of the party’s group on Edinburgh Council, said it had “heard stories of residents literally being priced out of their own homes”.

As part of a co-operation agreement between the SNP and the Greens, the Scottish Government has committed to legislating for “an effective national system of rent controls” by the end of 2025, with local government having a role in their implementation.

Mr McVey confirmed the SNP in Edinburgh would seek to use these powers in full, with the ambition to be the first local authority in Scotland to do so.

The Royal Mile in Edinburgh. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

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Private rents have increased in Edinburgh by 52.9 per cent in the last decade, outstripping the Scotland-wide increase of 32.5 per cent, according to data collected by CityLets.

Across Scotland the number of households in the private rented sector has risen from 120,000 in 1999 to 340,000 in 2019.

In the last census, the highest concentration of private renters in the country was in Edinburgh.

Mr McVey said: "We’re determined to do what we can to help renters and make sure everyone in Edinburgh has a safe, warm, affordable home.

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“Edinburgh has the biggest affordable house building programme in the country and we will go further, building the biggest expansion of new council houses in generations.

"This is an important part of tackling our housing crisis but we know rent controls are also needed because of the scale of the problem we face.

“Edinburgh is still a growing city and the pressures on housing are real.

"We can’t rely on the market alone to set levels that are literally pushing people out of their homes, and have even resulted in people presenting with many households forced to present to the council as homeless. Edinburgh residents need stronger protection.

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"Rent controls operate successfully in Sweden, France, Germany and Ireland and we’ll work with the Scottish Government to get the policy right so that we can keep rents at fair and affordable rates for residents.”

Edinburgh is currently run by an SNP/Labour coalition.

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