Capital rents soar as demand for tenancies rockets

RENTS are rocketing in the Capital for the first time in five years as prospective tenants rush to snap up properties, new figures released today reveal.

Property experts say the upturn is down to more people putting off buying property and a shortage in homes for rent.

The rental boom is a boon for landlords, who in recent years have been hit by soaring administration and insurance costs.

But unions and students' organisations are warning that key workers and students could be financially crippled by the rent rises.

According to Dunpark Property Management, which manages several hundred rental properties in the city, their clients have been able to put rents up by as much as 15 per cent in recent months.

Emma Fursman, Dunpark's managing director, said: "It has been a fabulous autumn and 100 per cent of our properties are now let out.

"It is great for landlords, who have been unable to put up their rents for five years, that we are now able to charge higher rates when leases come to an end. For example, rent for a two-bedroom flat in fashionable Bruntsfield has increased from £625 to £675, up eight per cent.

"The increased demand may have something to do with fewer people investing in buy-to-let properties or the fact that many people are choosing to carry on renting because of rising house prices. Many others want flexibility in their lives and would rather pay monthly rent than sign up for a long-term mortgage."

John Blackwood, director of the Scottish Association of Landlords, agreed that the rental market was seeing "phenomenal" success in Edinburgh and the Lothians. "Right across the board, properties are absolutely flying off the shelves. It is completely unprecedented that letting agencies are finding all their flats occupied - I've never seen anything like it in the ten years I've been in this business.

"I think it's getting to the point where there is a shortage of rental properties available, so demand is greater than supply, which means you can put the rent prices up."

But while landlords celebrate the rent-hikes, representatives for students and key workers including nurses expressed concerns that it would make it even more difficult to find affordable accommodation in Edinburgh.

Lynn Masson, the Royal College of Nursing's officer for the Lothians, said: "Rent rises may be good news for landlords, but they will have an adverse affect on the recruitment and retention of nurses.

"A recent survey confirmed Edinburgh is one of the most difficult places for nurses to buy homes and rent rises will only further discourage staff from seeking to live and work here."

And Ruth Cameron, president of the Edinburgh University Student Association, said: "I am deeply concerned at this news, as continued rent increases will eventually price students out of Edinburgh. A student loan provides just £80.67 a week to live off - this is less than half the estimated weekly living cost for a student in Edinburgh. I see affordable accommodation as being absolutely key to the continued success and academic excellence of the university, and crucial to recruiting new students from non-traditional backgrounds."
News source:
Get all of the latest Homes and Gardens news from The Scotsman. Providing a fresh perspective for online news.