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Tenants are calling for tighter action against criminal landlords who badly manage their homes or charge rip-off fees.
The protest group was formed after several members had bad experiences with buy to let landlords who allegedly trampled their housing rights.
Edinburgh Private Tenants Action Group (EPTAG) is campaigning for the city council to toughen up on enforcing housing law against bad landlords, who they say keep hold of deposits without good reason, fail to deal with repairs and illegally evict tenants.
Spokesman Allyson Macdonald said: “We’d had problems with landlords especially in unlicensed shared houses and with illegal charges. What we’re now hoping to do is campaign for better regulation of private sector landlords.
“This affects a lot of graduates and young couples. The issue is particularly bad in Edinburgh as it’s expensive to buy. There are so many people who are desperate for a place to live that landlords will take advantage of.”
Landlords must register with local councils in Scotland by law, but EPTAG argues they are disappointed landlords convicted of criminal offences against tenants can still carry on renting out homes.
“The council in Edinburgh regulates landlords but has never struck anyone off from the register, even people who have criminal records. There’s a great reluctance to follow things up and to pursue landlords for what they’ve done.”
Defending the council’s record, Councillor Rob Munn, convenor of the council’s regulatory committee claimed most of the work was carried out behind the scenes and was resolved informally.
“Tenants have the right to a decent standard of living in a safe and secure home and landlords should make sure they provide this.
“The significant level of informal and formal enforcement activity in Edinburgh shows that we will take appropriate action against those landlords who do not comply,” said Munn.
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