Kezia Dugdale: Here’s how Edinburgh could get rent control

House prices and rents have been spiralling ever higher. Picture: Ian Georgeson
House prices and rents have been spiralling ever higher. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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As the Jazz and Blues Festival paraded on Sunday, the city’s festivals season truly began. It’s that time of year when we can marvel in the beauty of our city and ask whether there is a better place in the world to live and work.

However, new figures out last week showed that Edinburgh’s growing popularity is leading to another surge in house prices. Growth of 7.3 per cent in a year can’t be matched anywhere else in the country and it’s three or four times that in sections of the Capital such as the city centre, where one or two-bedroom flats dominate.

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Twenty years ago, more than 50 per cent of 25 to 34-year-olds owned their own property. That’s fallen to just over a third now and the trend is set. Spiralling private rents mean many young professionals just don’t have the cash to put aside for a deposit. Their dominance of private lets squeezes the rental market for less-well-off families, and the prominence of short-let providers like Airbnb also means that many landlords can make more money from holiday lets than they can from providing longer-term tenancies. The dream of owning your own home remains just that – a dream – for many people in Edinburgh. So renting a property remains the only option for tens of thousands of people, and that’s why the market urgently needs rent controls and more availability of housing. It will take a socialist government to intervene and fix the city’s housing crisis.

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