Edinburgh housing: Flats to rent during Edinburgh Fringe listed for up to £34,000 for a month
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The three-bedroom flat in the Old Town is listed on Vrbo for £33,916 for just a month. Photos of the flat show a basic kitchen, small living room with one sofa and three bedrooms with either additional sofa or fold away beds. A one bedroom flat near Haymarket is also listed at more than £11,000 for the month of the festival, and the majority of properties listed for the festival are upwards of £10,000 for a month. Even a one-bed studio flat in Newington is coming in at £9,500.
Soaring rents for the festival come amid warnings that the city’s available temporary accommodation has been slashed, due to strict new rules being imposed over short-term lets even if it’s only for a few weeks. Performers have said prices are "killing" the festival and scaring away artists. And now experts have told the Evening News that rents have shot up this year to prices most won’t be able to afford – even the biggest star performers.
Louise Dickins, managing director of Dickins Letting in Edinburgh, said prices have shot up because fewer people are renting out rooms or homes due to tough new rules imposed by the council. She told the Evening News: “The biggest crisis of the festival is now the increasing cost of accommodation. We offer a discount for festival lets but I can see the price of available accommodation has significantly gone up this year. Prices like £33,000 a month - very few people could afford that kind of budget. It’s a total disaster because there will be a shortage of places performers can afford. It’s just not user friendly."
A search through sites like Rightmove paints a similar picture of sky-high rents. At the top end, renters can get a four-bedroom flat in Stockbridge for a whopping £14,000. The double upper Georgian flat, which is let by Ben Property, is located on North West Circus Place is described as ‘ideal for professionals seeking an oasis in the heart of town’. For the £14,000 price tag – that’s £3,231 per week – renters get a ‘luxurious’ property which looks onto St Stephen’s street with a south-facing, master super-king bedroom, an en-suite shower room along with other spacious bedrooms and a communal garden.
Several more lets for the festival are listed in the New Town, The Grange and York Place on Rightmove with an average asking price of between £8000 and £12,000. A two-bedroom flat in Leith is marketed at £6,500 a month by a London based company. Using the Edinburgh Fringe website's official accommodation tool gets similar results.
At the cheaper end, a two-bedroom property listed in Dalry is still coming in at £4,500 a month for a basic flat with a living room with kitchen adjoined and dining area, one double bedroom and one twin room, one en suite and a family bathroom.
On the Airbnb portal lets are listed at up to £17,000 for a garden level apartment in the West End with 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a private garden. Most average between £5000 to £8000 with a number coming in at more than £10,000 for a month during August. Even for just a room in a shared house 30 minutes outside the city centre renters will fork out at least £2,150 through the host site.
Edinburgh council became the first Short-term Let Control Area in Scotland last September amid a decline in readily available long-term housing. Homeowners must now apply for permission to let out a spare room or their entire home, although the council has said ‘exemptions’ would be made for up to six weeks during peak periods of demand. But operators have warned the amount of red tape and costs is putting people off letting out their properties, slashing the available accommodation and driving up the costs of in-demand lets.
Demand is higher than ever now as three quarters of accommodation is fully booked up for the festival months of July and August on several sites. Ms Dickens, who is also director of the Association of Scotland’s Self Caterers, added: "The problem is that people are only allowed to let a property or room out for the festival this year if they have done it before. And even then, they can only do it for six continuous weeks. But once they apply for the relevant licence, the council says it could take up to three months to process it. On top of that there’s a presumption to refuse properties that are in shared stairwells, which is many properties in Edinburgh. So there’s this weird hiatus where new people can’t come on to the market.
"Festival lets is how I started this business 25 years ago. Now I look after the least number of properties I ever have. These new rules are very onerous and people are just not doing it. To think Edinburgh is taking the jewel in its crown in terms of world standing and trashing it I find astonishing. Rents are much higher than they used to be because lots of people use portals like airbnb and it’s dynamic pricing, that means when supply of available accommodation is down the prices go up. We try to be decent to owners and offer affordable rents for people too. It’s important to use and to Edinburgh and goes back to the heart of our business.”
Vrbo and Ben’s Property have been approached for comment.