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Council declares Housing Emergency ‘with private rents partly to blame’

A major council has declared a Housing Emergency for its city, attributing part of the problem to rising private rents.

A statement from Edinburgh council says it’s made the gesture in response to a call from campaigning charity Shelter for local authorities to take “concerted action across the country.”

Councillor Jane Meagher - the council’s convenor for housing, homelessness and fair work - says: “Edinburgh is a caring, welcoming city and our council officers, charities and partners do an incredible job supporting our most vulnerable residents. Sadly, however, despite us doubling the Council’s homelessness budget over the last three years, we are now at risk of failing households who need our help most.


“Edinburgh may be a wealthy city on the surface, but we are seeing demand for homes far outstrip supply. Close to 5,000 households including many children will need to live in temporary accommodation this Christmas, because of this housing shortage.

“This is not a new challenge, but it is at the stage of breaking point. Rents are being driven up, the cost of living continues to put pressure on household bills and homelessness is rising. We have ambitious housebuilding plans, but we face rising construction costs as a result of inflation and difficulties securing land. This is against a backdrop of Edinburgh having the lowest proportion of homes for social rent in all of Scotland.

“By declaring a housing emergency, we hope to draw widescale attention to an issue that demands urgent and united action. Every single person deserves a warm, safe, and affordable place to call home and we can address this, if we act now. I’m pleased this decision received such powerful support today from Councillors and we will now work towards establishing a Housing Emergency Action Plan, while seeking the resources necessary to achieve its success.”

The council statement also includes comment from Shelter Scotland director Alison Watson who adds: “By acknowledging the reality of the housing emergency in Edinburgh, councillors now have licence to deliver the emergency response we need. There was an enormous breadth of support for today’s declaration from organisations working in housing, homelessness, and social justice in Edinburgh. 

“People in Edinburgh are struggling through this housing emergency, and they expect action to be taken at every level of government. With councillors having committed to delivering a housing emergency action plan, Shelter Scotland stands ready to work with the council in its development.

“Councillors have taken a positive step today, but this is just the beginning of a journey which must ultimately lead to the end of the housing emergency in Edinburgh.”

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    Are they actually going to build any houses or just talk about it?

  • Ian Deaugustine

    Precisely, is the council or the central government going to do something concrete (such as building cheap, affordable units for those in genuine need), or is it the usual bla bla bla to justify the fat salaries they get from councils or charities?

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    In a recent letter to my Mp George Freeman Rachel McLean Housing Minister said

    “ I do not accept that our reforms will lead to significant exodus of Landlords or have a destabilising effect on a market which has housed a relatively stable proportion of households in England for the last decade - a period which, as notes has seen some significant changes for landlords. We are introducing our planned reforms in a managed way and I would note for example that supply has remained stable in Scotland since section 21 was abolished. “. My response to my mp was “is she talking about the same Scotland I am - the one just north of England.?” These are the people we have leading our country god help us !


    Is Rachel McClaen aware that up until now the Scottish legislation has not applied to existing tenancies?

    Therefore landlords have been motivated to continue letting with existing tenants in place because they know that they can ask them to leave for any reason.

    Other landlords have switched to student letting and serviced accommodation. The housing emergency exists because landlords will not let to people whom they will be compelled to have in their properties permanently.

    Even more controls will make more landlords sell there.


    "Is Rachel McClean aware......" Let me just stop you right there! ;) :)


    Ellie is absolutely right.

    We still have two long term tenants on this property old rental agreements whose rents haven't increased but now that obnoxious bearded Green dwarf Patrick Harvie is threatening to be move all old tenancies to the new legislation and ban rental increases for new tenancies.

    Just before this happens our old tenants will be offered a new tenancy agreement at current market rents and will need to move out if they cannot afford them. Up until now we have been happy to keep the rent low whist we still have control over how long the tenancy will last but without that we will have no incentive to keep rents low and every incentive to get students in to replace long term tenants.

    A major reason for the Edinburgh shortages is that before many landlords operated a hybrid system with students in from mid September to mid May, a quick refurbishment scheduled for mid May and tourists in from June to mid September. Many landlords tried to retain that model after fixed term tenancies were outlawed but couldn't confirm tourist bookings until the students gave notice which many only did at the last gasp. This prompted the landlords to move full time to short term lets which made students compete with longer term tenants for properties further from the city centre more suited for families who were no longer wanted as landlords preferred students who wouldn't stay long term.

    The result is families struggling to get rental properties, students staying further out from the city and campuses in areas where they aren't welcomed by the neighbours and city centre flats often left unoccupied in off peak periods. Edinburgh Council's reaction is to limit short term rentals in flats without a main door which also pushes tourists and stag parties out to residential suburbs adding further to the shortage of normal family rental properties.

    Turn the clock back to pre December 2017, allow the hybrid system which worked well for decades, allow higher density occupation in bigger flats- currently limited by HMO licence rules - allow but control short term rentals in city centre flats- and leave the residential suburbs for families to rent under mutually acceptable tenancy agreements. All of this will make a big dent in Edinburgh's housing shortage but further legislation will only exacerbate the current problem, although it will give great comfort to the idiots in the SNP, Shelter etc. who couldn't care less about decent tenants and landlords.

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    Stunned and shocked 😳 how could this happen in the happy world of the Scottish rental market 👌🏻😂😂. Suck it up buttercup 🆘🆘

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    No they are not going to build houses, they are building hundreds of thousands of high-rise Flats, repetition floors for maximum profit of Portable cabin units in the Sky, many on the way loads completed and available to Rent. Studios £1500. pm, one bedroom Flats many £2000. pm, 2 bedroom Flats £2500. pm, So the Big Boys are building new homes for you, forcing out Private landlords by legislation and don’t worry the Concrete Mixer is turning, the bit that’s missing here is Affordability easy mistake to make.

    Shelley Munn

    And so far disguised as student accommodation in many university cities, all empty just waiting to be filled.

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    Surely you have to look at the reasons for the high rents? So annoying when they come out with this rubbish. They employ graduates who should have some research / reasoning skills. I despair.


    Indeed, yet another example of cause and effect. Waffle on about the effect (high rents) whilst completely ignoring the causes (well, where do I start - endless landlord bashing by the SNP and the Greenies). Unfortunately there's a dearth of decent investigative reporting in the MSM where it's just easy, and lazy, to write about the bleeding obvious without any digging as to find out why it's happening. I've written to Dan Hewitt over at ITV who specialises in breathlessly reporting on the appalling situation for renters .... no reply. Surprise surprise

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    You reap what you sow.....I have no sympathy...being a landlord in Scotland is a nightmare. I've joined the exodus...sell sell sell.....when the Scottish government actually allow me to do so! They should be ashamed of the chaos they have caused in the housing sector. A national disgrace!!


    Looking from England 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 they resemble North Korea 🇰🇵 or China 🇨🇳 In how they take control of an individual’s private property. Incredible.

  • Mick Roberts

    Is this the same Edinburgh that's in the SAME Scotland that has these Rent increase caps? Hmm din't we tell em they gonna have shortage soon and massive rents on new tenancies

  • Alan Bonde

    What is happening to the PRS is a coordinated effort by all UK Governments to drive private landlords out and hand the entire sector to corporate interests.
    Effectively the UK is up sale as has been demonstrated by the privatisation of the railways, the current and blatant destruction of the NHS in order to privatise it and concurrently the corporatisation of the PRS.
    The damage is not done by ignorance but due to ministerial corruption
    Our government is our enemy, corrupt and treacherous.


    Perfectly said!!! Unfortunately people don't believe this and it's too late now! I'm almost sold now...wishing you good luck.

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    That’s it Scot council blame everyone else when they strayed this path. Glad I not got any up there but hope it don’t travel south.


    Sadly I think it will travel south when Starmer moves into numbet 10

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    Absute carnage with PRS in Scotland

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    JUST SEEN NEW LANDLORD TODAY ARTICLE PUBLICISING Landlord CEO (Beadle) WINS PRESTIGIOUS LEADERSHIP AWARD - LLORD TODAY APPEARS TO HAVE SUSPENDED COMMENTS ON THE ARTICLE ALMOST IMMEDIATELY PRESUMABLY DUE TO THE AVALANCHE OF DERISIVE COMMENTS THEY RECEIVED? I wish i had the chance to read yours Nick Van Hoogstraaten - :). WHAT DID THEY EXPECT????? I think Graham Norwood appears to be aBeadle supporter as he did not respond to a message I sent him about (and inc a copy) of an email I received from Beadle re refusal to stand against abolishing S21
    But then published an interview with Beadle


    Saint Ben is untouchable it seems. A shame that landlord today does not believe in free speech, shades of Kim Jon Norwood perhaps. I miss Rosalind.


    Hey Nick, you can always comment here!


    I wrote the first comment about Beadle. It wasn’t rude. In essence I literally said Jeremy was the Nr 1 Beadle. Ben is second best. Added it was unforgivable Ben said be “didn’t have a problem” with S21 going in 2020 meeting with the government and Shelter etc. I suppose there was some bad comments after.

  • Franklin I

    Interesting, the council wants to blame the "Housing Emergency," on the PRS - LL's.

    Please implement the Renter's reform bill, and see how quickly your Housing Emergency, turns into a Housing Crisis!


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