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The struggle performers at the Edinburgh Fringe now face to find affordable short-term accommodation was entirely predictable, says the National Landlords Association (NLA).
Last year, the NLA highlighted that more landlords in Scotland were selling than buying on the back of the introduction of the introduction of the Scottish Private Residential Tenancy (PRT) in 2017, and warned that this would lead to artists, who have traditionally relied on renting student flats during the university summer break, struggling to find accommodation during festival season.
At the time, Richard Lambert, CEO of the NLA explained that the PRT removed the flexibility of the sector to meet the varied needs of renters, particularly students and those seeking short-term tenancies.
The Scottish Government decided that student tenancies should be open-ended, rather than give an exemption linking them to the academic year, so landlords could not risk advertising them unless the tenants had confirmed they were leaving. As the NLA anticipated, many students only did this in May, putting pressure on both the Fringe and on students looking for accommodation for the next academic year.
With the importance of the Festival and the Fringe to Edinburgh and the influx of people requiring shorter tenancies, the NLA believes the Scottish Government should look again at a student exemption to the PRT to prevent this shortage in accommodation next year.
Richard Lambert says:
“It’s too late to do anything around the situation in Edinburgh for this year. We predicted that performers would struggle to find place to stay following these changes.
“Because student landlords don’t know if or when their properties will be available, they’re unable to advertise their properties for the Fringe in time. If this continues year-on-year, low-income and lesser known artists will struggle to find short-term accommodation, significantly reducing the variety the acts.
“Rents are being pushed up in the student market for the same reason, because there are fewer properties coming onto the market. Students don’t want or need indefinite tenancies, so they would lose nothing from an exemption, but would gain from the return of a stable market.”
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