‘Rent Pressure Zone’ Legislation Could See Edinburgh Rents Capped

Rent rises would be capped in Edinburgh under calls to delegate the Scottish capital as the country’s first ‘Rent Pressure Zone’ (RPZ).

The Scottish Parliament passed legislation last year introducing new controls which can be implemented in designated ‘Rent Pressure Zones.’ The scheme, which is set to come into effect in December, is applicable in areas dictated by the Scottish Government.

Lothian has the highest private rental inflation rate in Scotland, with rents for both one and two-bedroom properties in the region up by over 25 per cent over the past six years, with a further 20 per cent rise anticipated by experts over the next five years. As a result of this, Edinburgh’s Greens are calling for the Capital to be first RPZ.

RPZ regulation has commonalities with rent controls in certain US cities, in that landlords are still able to put up rents. However, rises are limited to the rate of inflation plus one per cent.

Edinburgh is home Scotland’s largest private rental sector. The Greens argue the entire city should be covered because Edinburgh is a single housing market affected by high rents, although they acknowledge that some areas are worse than others.

Green housing spokesperson Steve Burgess said: ‘It’s a modest step which will limit rent rises but, coupled with real action on more affordable housing and further powers to introduce rent controls, it will mean tenants getting a better deal than they currently get.’

However, managing director of city property firm DJ Alexander, David Alexander, said it would be difficult to support claims that the entire city should be included in an RPZ. He said: ‘In some places like Trinity and Blackhall it’s actually quite difficult for landlords to rent out property. Obviously there are other areas which are popular, like Morningside, the New Town, Stockbridge and the West End.’

However, he asserted that the regulation may not be too detrimental to landlords: ‘If rent rises are capped at CPI plus one per cent I think most landlords could live with that. Most rent increases would be a percentage of the rent and so long as you are able to set the rent at the start of the tenancy, that kind of cap people could accept.’

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