What is Living Rent Edinburgh?
Living Rent Edinburgh, (formerly called Edinburgh Private Tenants Action Group), is a organisation established to represent the interests of private tenants in Edinburgh. No other group in the city organises solely around issues relating to private tenants, making us a significantly under-represented section of society, vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. Housing is a fundamental aspect of our lives and one which can have lasting impacts on our health, development and general well being. Without organisation and a direct, no-nonsense approach to dealing with the issues affecting private tenants, our collective voice will remain unheard and our often insecure/sometimes desperate situation will remain unresolved.
We are currently campaigning for a Living Rent for Scotland – to stop rip-off rents and unjust evictions. We also organise against criminal/negligent landlords. We’ve won a campaign to get rid of illegal fees for tenants, and letting agents who continue to charge fees can now be punished with a £1000 fine.
What is a Private Tenant?
Private tenants are people who rent their homes from a private landlord (i.e. not the council or housing corporations) either directly or via a letting agency. On a national level, private tenants are more likely to be younger people and recent migrants to an area but since the financial crisis, the sector is growing and in both size and diversity. Reports suggest that the number of people renting from private landlords will have grown by almost 40% in the next decade.
Currently, private tenants are amongst the most vulnerable people in society and there are very few organisations representing private tenant interests or taking action against exploitative landlords and letting agents. We at Living Rent Edinburgh hope to begin to redress this imbalance. We were established to fight for private tenants issues on a societal level and provide advice and assistance for individuals dealing with the many problems associated with private rented housing.
How can I support Living Rent Edinburgh?
Living Rent Edinburgh has a membership scheme which enables you to support the work we are doing whilst not attending every meeting. It also enables you to access support of Living Rent Edinburgh with issues such as claiming back illegal fees, and other housing problems. Click here for further details
We have regular meetings and would love for new members to get involved. The locations and times of these meetings can vary so email us here, to get the info on our next meetings.
How can I get advice now?
Living Rent Edinburgh is producing several guides for common private tenant issues, check out our guide for reclaiming tenancy fees here
For specific help with issues you face you should try:
Letwise – Edinburgh Council’s private tenancy service offers general over-the-phone advice to tenants in addition to useful articles on their website.
Edinburgh Housing Advice Partnership -EHAP provides free, confidential and independent advice on your housing rights and options.
Shelter Scotland – Shelter offer an advice line for tenants as well as extensive advice pages on their website.
Citizens Advice Scotland – offer appointments in the various CAB offices across Edinburgh and deal with private tenant issues amongst others.
We may also be able to help in the situation where the above services are unable, get in touch with us to find out.
Of course the best way to improve your lot as a tenant is to work for the advancement of all private tenants, by joining Living Rent Edinburgh and helping us put pressure on politicians, landlords and letting agents to make the system fair.