Festival goers among those to be hit
Repossession ruling likely to hit short-term lettings
Landlords will be less willing to let their properties for a few weeks because the new tenant could simply refuse to move out.
Letting agent David Alexander, said the proposed restrictions on repossession will almost certainly lead to a reduction of flats available to let during the Festival.
In Edinburgh, many landlords let out flats to student tenants for nine months then take a summer break, during which the property is let to festival-goers for a month.
Under the proposed changes they would be prevented from repossessing a property unless they intend to sell on or make the house or flat their own home.
Mr Alexander said: “The tenant could simply turn round and say, ‘I have security of tenure, I like it here and I’m not moving’ and the landlord could do nothing about it.”
He said flat-renting was extremely popular among Festival-goers from other parts of Britain and overseas because it allowed them the freedom to take in as many shows from early in the morning to late at night as their budgets allowed.
“For many visitors, staying in a rented flat, rather than a hotel, is part of what the Festival is all about,” he said. “There are even Festival-lovers from Glasgow who lease flats in Edinburgh for the entire month.”
He added: “If a restriction on repossession prevents longer-term landlords from providing Festival accommodation then clearly this will reduce the number of properties available and inevitably lead to higher rents. Apart from that it would send out entirely the wrong message, given the Festival’s reputation for freedom of action and expression.”
Mr Alexander also believes restrictions on repossessions would have a wider negative effect across the city’s conventional rental market.
He explained: “For some landlords who let out on a long-term basis for most of the year, the additional income that comes from a month’s Festival let is what makes the ‘investment’ profitable. If legislation makes this opportunity more difficult then they may just take the decision to sell up – leaving fewer properties available to rent for the working residents of Edinburgh.”