More than 12,000 people are on the waiting list for a one-bed council house in Edinburgh with new figures revealing it will take five years to accommodate them.
A Freedom of Information request to the Edinburgh City Council has unveiled an average of 47 single bedroom properties are made available on a weekly basis.
But with 12,124 applicants on the housing register eligible for the properties, the city cannot cope with the overwhelming demand.
Only 15 per cent of Edinburgh’s housing stock is for social letting - representing the lowest percentage amongst Scottish cities and significantly lower than the 25 per cent average.
The city council has committed to building 20,000 affordable homes and says it is on track to deliver the goal, which will alleviate pressure on the city’s housing market and help more people find a home.
Housing and economy convenor Kate Campbell said the council is trying to address the issues caused by the ‘right to buy’ scheme which “decimated” Edinburgh’s council housing stock.
She added: “Now that the right to buy has ended, and we are building social homes again, we are starting to redress this imbalance.
“It’s not just about increasing the number of affordable homes. It’s also about doing everything we can to prevent homelessness in the first place.
“Short term lets are a concern. We believe they are having a significant impact on the supply of housing in the city. We think we need a licensing regime to properly control the number of short term lets across the city and we’re engaging with the Scottish Government who have a working group looking at this.”
Since 2015, the average number of bids for social rented housing has ranged between 150 to 200 per home.
Leith Walk Green councillor Susan Rae said: “When the bedroom tax was imposed it was a huge crux for people who could not afford extra bedrooms and wanted to move so they didn’t have to pay.
“Through domestic break-ups and more people choosing to stay single too we are now in a position with few single bedroom properties and a worrying level of demand.”
Alison Watson, deputy director of Shelter Scotland, said: “This massive imbalance between supply and demand is the legacy of decades of under investment in social housing in Edinburgh.
“Some the consequences of this housing emergency are devastating, with homelessness a very real risk.
“We must see sustained investment in the kind of housing people need and in the places they want to live.”