Housing crisis

Edinburgh housing crisis: 15 ‘super landlords’ dominate the city’s rental market

FIFTEEN registered owners own around 5,300 privately rented properties in Scotland’s capital, a freedom of information (FOI) request by the Edinburgh Evening News revealed.

This represents around nine per cent of the private rental sector in Edinburgh. One owner owns more than 1010 properties, and dozens of others own more than 100 properties each, according to the FOI request.

The figures come to light amid growing concern over the number of ‘super landlords’, whose widespread real estate prowess has the potential to influence rent prices in the city – already at an all-time high – with the price renting a one bedroom apartment. real estate has increased by more than 40% over the last decade.

One owner owns 1010 properties in the city

To combat the cost of living crisis, municipal tenants had their rents frozen for a second year. However, private rents have seen an average increase for a one-bed property from £520 in 2010 to £755 in 2021.

This figure is almost double the national average. A search on rightmove this week for one bedroom properties in Edinburgh city center reveals five pages of results. The average monthly rent for the 24 apartments listed on the front page was £868, with the cheapest being £560 and the most expensive being £1,500.

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The vast majority of tenants, in Edinburgh’s 60,000 private rental sector homes, live in multi-occupancy homes, otherwise known as HMO properties.

The FOI request also revealed that the city’s “super owners” also own more than a quarter of HMO properties, with 26% of HMOs owned by just a dozen owners, each owning more than 50 properties each.

As property experts warn that strong demand and a lack of properties available on the market could lead to a further rise in private rents in the first quarter of 2022, council leaders have been urged to work with private landlords to make in the face of the city’s housing crisis.

SNP MP Tommy Sheppard told the Edinburgh Evening News: “Private rented houses can bring in big profits. We need further investigation into the private rental sector and these ‘super’ landlords. We need to know more about who they are. The council and the government need to consider this further.”

The National: Tommy Sheppard, MP for the SNPTommy Sheppard, SNP MP

“If there are super owners, there is potentially an argument for ‘super’ regulation,” he added. “There is also an opportunity here to work with these landlords to raise standards and make renting fairer and more affordable.

“At the end of the day, we don’t have enough houses. Consideration should be given here to the requirement that a percentage of rented private properties be affordable, in the same way that developers must do for new construction.

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Yvonne King, of King Sisters Letting, told the newspaper: “There is a crisis because there are not enough properties to meet demand. Rental rates went down during Covid and then when students were advised to return to classes in September last year it went crazy. We were inundated. This drove up rents.

“We had a one-bedroom apartment in Leith that was £700 and it’s now £850. Rents are going up partly because of a spike in selling prices. But there’s an economic balance.

“If only a small number of individuals own many properties, that means participation allows them more control to help set market rental rates.”

The dominance of Airbnb properties in the city ties into this debate. Currently in the Edinburgh area there are 6,004 Airbnb properties listed, including 4,162 entire houses or apartments, 1,735 private rooms and 22 shared rooms.

The National: There are currently 6,004 Airbnbs listed in EdinburghThere are currently 6004 Airbnbs listed in Edinburgh

The average price of a night at an Airbnb in the capital is currently £149 a night, meaning ‘hosts’ can earn over a month’s average rent over seven nights; so it’s no surprise that thousands of owners have turned to the short-term rental market.

However, their prevalence has driven up rental property prices as choices in the long-term rental market have narrowed over time.

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To address this, the Scottish Government last year proposed new short-term rental laws. From 2024 properties in Scotland will need to obtain licenses from local councils. Under the legislation, all local authorities will be required to establish a system of short-term rental licenses by October 2022.

The government has held a series of consultations on the legislation in 2021, hoping to have the new law on the statute books before last year’s Holyrood election in May. However, the plans were shelved while the draft guidance was being developed.

A stakeholder task force was set up in February 2021, but saw several groups resign, with Airbnb and the Scottish B&B Association calling the group “not fit for purpose” and withdrawing their input.

The government has noted its intention to reconvene the stakeholder group to finalize the licensing guidance, which will be released in early 2022.

The National:

SNP councilor Kate Campbell, Edinburgh housing, homelessness and fair work manager, told the Evening News: ‘We are facing incredible pressure on housing supply in Edinburgh, which is the one of the main factors behind high rents.

“That’s why we committed to building 20,000 affordable homes by 2027, why we continue to work on justifying a rent pressure zone, and why we’ve worked so hard to regulate short-term rentals. .

“All short-term rentals will now require a licence, which will make them much easier to control in terms of the overall impact on our housing supply. We will also be considering greater planning controls within the committee, which is another positive step in the right direction to address the issues that short-term rentals are creating for residents across the city.

Read the original Edinburgh Evening News article here.