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More warnings over tenancy change

New letting rules fear for Festival

Edinburgh FestivalAnother lettings agency has warned that proposed changes to private rented sector tenancy could have a damaging impact on Edinburgh Festival visitors.

Research by Lettingstats has confirmed earlier concerns expressed by Edinburgh agency DJ Alexander, reported in Daily Business, that under new rules landlords may find it difficult to let property for short periods.

The Scottish government’s planned changes will prohibit, for instance the ability to let property to students during term time and re-let the same property to Festival goers during the summer months.

Lettingstats has appealed for a rethink after reviewing responses to the Scottish Government’s consultation on tenancy reform, including those who help house the Festival, such as the universities.

Lettingweb’s head of research, Dan Cookson, said: “Private rented housing stock and university accommodation is critical to the success of Edinburgh’s festivals. The new tenancy reform proposals may be well-intentioned, but the Scottish Government and City of Edinburgh Council have so far ignored the dire warnings consistently presented to them from across the entire private rented sector.

“Given that the identification of additional Festival accommodation was seen as a key recommendation in the city’s recent festival strategy, it is bizarre that the City would support tenancy reform changes that will immediately put at risk much-needed accommodation capacity within the city.

“Just the prospect of this legislation being introduced is already having a wider impact on the private rented sector. Landlords are starting to move to protect themselves by either transferring their tenancies over to short-term only, or even considering dis-investing which would be a disaster – falling supply will inevitably push up prices.

“Ultimately this legislation will have an unintended negative impact upon the availability of housing stock for residents, students and visitors alike. It is hugely disappointing that policy makers are ignoring the stark warnings of the sector.”

Stuart Montgomery, director of Rettie & Co, added: “The idea that landlords evict tenants from their homes in order take advantage of premium Festival rents is simply a fallacy. In most cases the use of the property for the Festival period enables student tenants to secure accommodation for the duration of their academic term without being forced to pay for the summer months, provides the breadth of accommodation that performers and production companies require and provides the respective landlords with a sufficient yield for them to maintain an investment in the sector.

“The removal of the ability to have tenancies with a fixed end date will have a terrible effect on the festival and student lettings market. Without a fixed end date and therefore the certainty of vacant possession at the conclusion of an academic term, the entire festival and student lettings market will simply cease to function.”

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