In the Edinburgh Evening News today there is an article, featuring comments from EPTAG, about how renting privately in Edinburgh is becoming unaffordable for many people.
The EEN wrote that: “the cost of renting in Edinburgh has soared to a new high – with an average two-bedroom home breaking the £1000 mark for the first time in parts of the city. Figures have revealed the gulf between available properties and the number of would-be tenants is at its widest “since records began” – according to city property experts.”
The main argument in the article is that there are not enough homes being built. There is also the usual scaremongering about increased legislation pushing up rents, such as letting agency fees being made illegal, and deposits now being protected by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme. A view which is unsupported by any evidence.
EPTAG argues in the article that “[w]e need more housing built, but the right kind of housing. Good quality, affordable housing, and more council housing. We also need some rent regulation to ensure the sector remains affordable.
“Scotland should follow the example of stable and thriving rental markets in countries like Germany, where they have rent regulations to curb excessive increases in rents.”
We often hear here in the UK that increased regulation will reduce supply, scare off investors, and increase rents, however the experience of many other European countries contradicts this view. Germany is a concrete example of how well thought out regulations can maintain a steady and flourishing private rented sector, without the housing bubbles, profiteering and speculation we see here.