Edinburgh needs “Living Rent”, say Green councillors

Private tenants in the capital need the assurance of a “living rent”, according to Green councillors.

In the wake of new figures showing Lothian rents rising well above inflation, Green councillor Steve Burgess, urged city leader Andrew Burns at today’s full council meeting (20 November 2014) to support the “Living Rent” campaign, which highlights soaring private rents and the short term nature of private tenancies.

Cllr Burgess said:

Steve B at SGP Conf“For almost two years now Edinburgh has paid all of its employees a Living Wage. While there is still a lot to do to extend Living Wage to all employers, it is a step in the right direction.

“But wages are only one side of the equation.  If housing costs are spiralling at the same time, then people will find themselves no better off. That is why it is so important to match the Living Wage commitment with a Living Rent commitment so that rents in the private market do not routinely rise above the rate of inflation.

“Greens support radical measures like Land Value Tax which will help to bring down sky-high property prices over time.  A Living Rent commitment would ease pressures for hard-pressed tenants in the short term by limiting rent rises during a tenancy.”

In response to Cllr Burgess’ question the Capital Coalition pledged to raise issues of high rents and security in the next meeting with the Housing Minister.

NOTES

1. For Living Rent, see http://www.livingrent.org/

2. The Scottish Government is currently consulting on proposals to reform the privately-rented sector.

3. Last week the Scottish Government published statistics which showed that private rents had risen by 17.2% in Lothian over the last 4 years, while the Consumer Price Index (CPI) had risen by 11.7%. The average rent for a 2 bedroom flat in Lothian is £779 a month, almost £200 more than the Scottish average.