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Tackle landlords' ‘parasitic approach’ to housing with rent controls, tenants urge

THE Scottish government should introduce strict rent control across the country to tackle Landlords’ “parasitic approach” to housing, demonstrators in Edinburgh will demand on Thursday tonight.

The protest, organised by Scottish tenants’ union Living Rent, will take place outside a workshop by BBC One property presenter Martin Roberts advising landlords how to “maximise profits.”

Promotions for the workshop boast that Mr Roberts will show landlords how to “live the life they really deserve,” teaching them “rental and capital-growth strategies” and how to increase revenue.

Increasing returns for landlords would simply mean further ripping off Edinburgh tenants and exacerbating the city’s housing crisis, according to Living Rent.

“Scotland’s housing market is deeply broken. While we are in the midst of a housing and homelessness crisis, we need to stop looking at housing as an opportunity for landlords to make themselves a quick profit,” Living Rent’s Eleanor White said.

“The Scottish government urgently needs to introduce stronger regulation to protect ordinary renters from exploitation, starting with strict rent controls.

“People simply won’t forgive the government if it continues to stand by and watch as people are driven further into poverty by this kind of parasitic approach to housing.”

The protest comes as the cost of renting in Scotland’s capital continues to rise at eye-watering levels.

Between 2010 and 2019, the Lothians saw the average rent for a two-bedroom property climb from £665 per month to £972 – a 46.3 per cent cumulative increase over nine years.

Protest organiser Rufus Bouverie said that landlords had an “extractive parasitic mindset,” and were charging “exorbitant rents for their properties at the misery and suffering of their tenants.”

He added: “We are in dire need of legislation that supports the individual from greater exploitation from the landlord.

“With rents in Edinburgh increasing 42 per cent over the last eight years, strict rent controls are a very real and important step that both the Scottish and UK government need to implement unless they want to stand by as people are driven deeper and deeper into poverty.”

Scottish housing minister Kevin Stewart said that the government has acted to improve security and stability for tenants in the private sector.

“We are on track to deliver our ambitious target to deliver 50,000 affordable homes — 35,000 of which will be for social rent — over the lifetime of this Parliament, backed by more than £3.5 billion, the single biggest investment in and delivery of affordable housing since devolution,” he said.

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