A Scottish agent has warned that government proposals to restrict landlord repossessions could negatively impact accommodation costs at the Edinburgh Festival.
David Alexander, managing director of Edinburgh and Glasgow-based DJ Alexander, predicts that there will be fewer flats available during the world’s largest arts event if the government goes ahead with new controls proposed for the rental sector.
The government’s plans mean that landlords would be prevented from repossessing a private rental property unless they intend to sell or inhabit the property themselves.
Alexander says that in the Scottish capital many landlords let to students during the academic year and then let to festival-goers for a month during the summer.
“Under the proposals being considered, the tenant could simply turn round and say ‘I have security of tenure and I’m not moving’ and the landlord could do nothing about it,” he explains.
Alexander believes that landlords would then be forced to pull out of the short-term festival let market as they would not be sure if they could honour any commitment to festival-goers when the event comes around.
As well as pushing up accommodation costs for the festival’s millions of visitors, the agent argues that the new rules would reduce the variety of accommodation available.
“For many visitors, staying in a rented flat, rather than a hotel, is part of what the festival is all about,” he says. “There are even festival-lovers from Glasgow, living just 45 miles away, who lease flats in Edinburgh for the entire month.”
Alexander also believes restrictions on repossessions would have a wider negative effect across the city’s conventional rental market.
“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 less properties available to rent for the working residents of Edinburgh,” he adds.