Home BLA Scotland Helen Martin: Is a £1,050-a-month studio flat really ‘affordable’?

Helen Martin: Is a £1,050-a-month studio flat really ‘affordable’?

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PRIVATE landlords in Edinburgh get a pelting from the public, and sometimes the council, for “exploiting” tenants with soaring rents and pushing up the cost of housing, especially for first-time buyers. The drive is on for “affordable” housing.

PRIVATE landlords in Edinburgh get a pelting from the public, and sometimes the council, for “exploiting” tenants with soaring rents and pushing up the cost of housing, especially for first-time buyers. The drive is on for “affordable” housing. Oh, how I laughed when I read about the 73 studio flats being built on the site of the old Broughton High School. They are described as “affordable housing”, built-to-rent, and designed to form the basis of a new, long-term community. The monthly rent for each studio flat (that’s defined as one room for living, dining and sleeping, plus a bathroom) starts at £1,050! We have two rental flats, one with two double bedrooms (rent is £795), the other with one double bedroom (rent is £600) both with lounge, kitchen and bathroom. I would describe them as fair rental prices, but not necessarily “affordable” which, to most of us, means well below the market rate.

Admittedly, location and design plus extra communal areas for these new Kingsford Residence studios on McDonald Road can make a huge difference to rental, so it would not be fair to label them “over-priced”. But surely the government and council should create a clear level and definition of “affordable housing” so that builders and landlords are restricted when it comes to using the phrase in planning applications and marketing – especially if they are converting property sold to them by the council.

BLA Scotland

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