Dunedin Canmore residents call for rent freeze from landlord

Social tenants of Dunedin Canmore have asked for their landlord to meet them on March 25 to discuss the urgent need for a rent freeze.

Dunedin Canmore, part of the Wheatley Group, has proposed a rent hike of 1.7 percent for social housing in Edinburgh but tenants have hit out saying that they feel it is unwarranted to raise rents in the middle of a pandemic.

Living Rent helped organise the meeting for tenants but say that they are yet to hear back from Dunedin Canmore regarding their attendance.

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A resident who wished to remain anonymous said: "Covid-19 will be the ruin of many people sadly. I can only see a rise in homelessness. There should be a rent freeze to give people breathing space. It seems bills go up every year while people's wages mostly stay the same or rise very little. We need it to help people less well off, which is basically everyone right now."

Living Rent added: “Social landlords are supposed to provide affordable, not-for-profit housing, and consult tenants with a choice of three different rent increases each year.

“However, Living Rent’s own consultation of Dunedin Canmore tenants is inadequate. Of their 5,131 homes, only 269 responded to this year’s consultation, of which only 170 supported a rent increase of any kind. This means that only 3.35 percent of Dunedin Canmore tenants support this move.

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“Rents have risen for years, yet tenants are now faced with a further rent increase despite furlough, unemployment, and other effects of Covid-19. It is unreasonable, unrealistic, and unfair to demand increased rents at this time.”

A spokesperson for Dunedin Canmore said: “We have written to Living Rent, letting them know that we are unable to attend the proposed meeting on March 25.

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Letter handed in to Dunedin Canmore that invited them to attend a virtual meeting with tenants

“Dunedin Canmore is totally committed to informing, explaining and engaging tenants in everything we do. That strong commitment applied also, as it does every year, to our annual review of rent levels. Our 2021-22 rent consultation was organised on this important principle of direct communication and engagement, urging everyone to become involved.

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“That consultation concluded last month and the Dunedin Canmore board took full account of what tenants told us in setting the 2021-22 rent level, which will take effect from April 1.”

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