Helen Martin: Is a £1,050-a-month studio flat really ‘affordable’?

This is what affordable luxury looks like, apparently
This is what affordable luxury looks like, apparently
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PRIVATE landlords in Edinburgh get a pelting from the public, and sometimes the council, for “exploiting” tenants with soaring rents and pushing up the cost of housing, especially for first-time buyers. The drive is on for “affordable” housing.

Oh, how I laughed when I read about the 73 studio flats being built on the site of the old Broughton High School. They are described as “affordable housing”, built-to-rent, and designed to form the basis of a new, long-term community. The monthly rent for each studio flat (that’s defined as one room for living, dining and sleeping, plus a bathroom) starts at £1,050!

We have two rental flats, one with two double bedrooms (rent is £795), the other with one double bedroom (rent is £600) both with lounge, kitchen and bathroom. I would describe them as fair rental prices, but not necessarily “affordable” which, to most of us, means well below the market rate.

READ MORE: Old Broughton school affordable luxury flats ready for first residents

Admittedly, location and design plus extra communal areas for these new Kingsford Residence studios on McDonald Road can make a huge difference to rental, so it would not be fair to label them “over-priced”. But surely the government and council should create a clear level and definition of “affordable housing” so that builders and landlords are restricted when it comes to using the phrase in planning applications and marketing – especially if they are converting property sold to them by the council.

READ MORE: Edinburgh set for new US-style rent control powers