Living Rent protesters call out ‘immoral’ event which claims to help Edinburgh landlords ‘maximise their profits’

 

Campaigners from tenants’ union Living Rent have branded an Edinburgh workshop which claims to help landlords maximise their profits as “immoral”.

Dozens of activists from the group protested outside of the ‘Making Money From Property’ seminar, which took place inside the Doubletree hotel on Bread Street on Thursday evening.

Protesters pointed to rising rent and the lack of affordable housing in the city, which they say has resulted in a rise in homelessness in the city.

“The event talks about maximising profits, which means maximising rent and parasitically extracting rent from students and tenants across Edinburgh,” campaigner Rufus told EN4 News.

“There’s 12,000 people on the waiting list for a single bedroom council house in Edinburgh alone and about 3,000 people on the streets.

“And so refusing to recognise that this housing crisis is part of this broader landlord movement to increase profits and extract more and more rent from people is immoral.”

Members from the union also repeated calls for the Scottish Government to introduce rent controls.

“The government needs to be held to account. It feels like the wild-west for landlords right now, and I think we need serious rent controls,” Jessica told EN4 News.

“There is a massive homelessness and housing crisis [in the city] and in the fifth richest economy in the world that’s not acceptable in any way.

“Seminars like this where people come and they’re like, ‘just buy a bunch of houses and make a bunch of money’. Houses are not there for you to make money, they’re for people and families to live in.”

Protesters at ‘Making Money From Property’ event (Credit: EN4 News)

Data from the letting agency CityLets shows that Edinburgh has seen the biggest rent rises in Scotland over the past 10 years.

The average rent in the city is £1,131 according to the figures, up from an average of £734 four years ago. In the same period, the average rent in Glasgow increased from £571 to £802.

Although the city’s homeless population has fallen by 20% over the past five years, according to figures published in April 2019, the number of homeless people in Edinburgh remains over 3,000.

The ‘Making Money from Property’ seminar was advertised by BBC presenter and property expert Martin Roberts, although the Homes Under the Hammer star did not attend Thursday’s event.

(Credit: EN4 News)

 

On its website, the event claims to help would-be landlords buy new property at auction, as well as advice on “rental and capital growth strategies” and tips on “how to maximise your profits”.

The organisers of the event have been approached by EN4 News for comment.

Protesters from Living Rent met outside the Cycle Republic shop on Morrison Street before marching to the Bread Street hotel.

Campaigner Eve added: “Housing is a fundamental human right and until you can guarantee that every tenant has a safe place to live, isn’t forced into poverty because of their rent and is protected for a series of legislative rights, then we can talk about pricing.

“But those should come first because it’s about human rights.”

Listen to campaigners explain to EN4 News why they were protesting the event, below. 

Are we living in a “Peter Pan Generation”?

Every year I would get excited about my birthday. When I was 12, I couldn’t wait to turn 13 so I could class myself a teenager. When I was 15, I counted down to my 16th birthday because 16 sounded so grown up. I wanted to get a job, earn money, and be able to vote; I was in a rush to get on with my life. I was excited to turn 17 so I could learn to drive and then, finally, to be 18 so I could go out for drinks, leave school and go to university.

However, that changed the year I was turning 22.

As a teenager, I looked at people in their twenties and thought of them as adults, who had everything figured out and knew what they wanted in life. I was dreading turning 22 because I knew I didn’t exactly have a “life plan” – I didn’t know what I wanted to be doing at 40, and although I had my stuff together, it wasn’t a fit “long-term” solution.

The day after my 22nd birthday – after celebrating, of course – I was thinking to myself “Right, you need to get your life together now.” I made a list in my head of all the things I felt like I needed to do as a woman in her twenties. That list included things like saving money, enough to look at moving out; decide if I wanted to have kids and start a family or not; make a plan on finding a career job after graduating university;…

In short: I was thinking of everything that I considered proper-grown-up decisions that would set the course for the rest of my life.

It wasn’t until I was talking to my friend about it, and she told me I was acting like a 35-year-old, not like a girl aged 22, and that I should enjoy being young while I am.

I instantly felt better and assured, so I relaxed. But I did remind her that when my parents were in their early-to-mid twenties, they were married, living in a house and paying a mortgage with a one-year-old and another baby on the way.

“Relax,” she said. “That was a totally different era.”

That could not have been a truer statement – enter the Peter Pan Generation.

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Do we live in a Peter Pan Generation? Credits to Lalelu2000

The Peter Pan Generation is how people label today’s society and its millennials and tricenarians. It argues that people are in denial about their age and, as a result, behave in much the same way as they did ten years ago, like spending money today rather than putting it aside for the future.

This may sound reckless, irresponsible and even immature, but also very recognisable. It represents a group of 25-to-40-year-olds, who exist in a state of extended adolescence and avoid the trappings of responsibility — marriage, mortgage, children — for as long as possible.

Professor Frank Furedi, a sociologist at the University of Kent, who has been studying this phenomenon, said: “Our society is full of lost boys and girls hanging out at the edge of adulthood.”

Currently, the average age at which people marry is 30 for women and 32 for men, whereas back in in the 1970s, women typically married at 22 and men at 24.

Rather than starting a family at 23 (as it was in the 1970s), women are now starting a family at 34, and more than ever at 40 because of fertility treatments and IVF.

As for taking on the commitment of buying a house, the age of first-time buyers has gone from an average of 29-years-old in the 1980s to on average, 38, before they buy their first home. A report from LV Insurers suggests that by 2025, the average age of a first-time home-buyer will be 41.

Three million people aged 20 to 34 still live with their parents, and many others still rely on their parents. According to a report earlier this year, more than 13 million parents paid out over £34 billion in loans to their children who were well into their forties.

So you could say our parents’ generation is a totally different era. But why?

Today’s economy could be to blame. Moving out and buying your own place are considered the first steps of growing up, but in today’s society, that is harder than ever. We constantly hear stories of those who need to move back home just to save for the insurmountable deposits needed to buy a property.

People growing up in our generation can be afraid to do these things — scared to think of themselves as proper adults. Or it could simply be that people in their twenties and thirties feel like they don’t need to grow up (or settle down) just yet.

Some people of our generation don’t feel they need to start work and start a family as soon as they hit their twenties the way previous generations used to. That little window of opportunity means we can play around with our youth a little longer.

 

SNP Councillors stage walkout during housing plans talks

SNP councillors carried out a dramatic walkout yesterday during council discussions on a local housing development plan.

East Lothian Council approved the local development plan despite widespread opposition. It is understood that current plans aim to see a new development of 10,000 homes across East Lothian with the scheme being carried out over the next decade.

The SNP councillors stormed out of the meeting at Musselburgh’s Brunton Hall over fears that the plan “seeks to impose a strategy that will harm communities, provides no answer to the affordable housing crisis and will see the dismantling of the greenbelt”.

The SNP group has slated the housing proposal, saying:

“The proposed compact strategy seeks to dump more than 60 per cent of new housing in the west of the county whilst at the same time destroying any hope that those on the council housing list will ever get the chance of an affordable home to rent in their lifetime.”

SNP Group Leader Stuart Currie, said:

“SNP councillors have been denied the information required to make such momentous decisions for our county. The objectives of the local development plan identified in the officers’ report have not been met.

“We asked for an alternative strategy to be compiled that would allow all the options to be explored but this has been rejected. The crucial facts on infrastructure such as rail, roads, sewerage, education and transportation are just not available yet councillors are being asked to sign up to the proposed strategy.

“It’s the equivalent of buying a house and then asking for the home report three months later.”

SNP MP George Kerevan asked:

“Why not follow a more sensible policy of organic growth in each county town, which would allow better use of rail transport”.

Scottish Government exceeds affordable homes

Housing in Scotland. Photo courtesy of sutr/Flickr

Housing in Scotland. Photo courtesy of sutr/Flickr

The Scottish Government has exceeded its target for delivering affordable homes.

It had planned to deliver 30,000 affordable homes by March 2016 but it has reached the target ahead of schedule and surpassed it.

The announcement comes just days Shelter Scotland claimed that at least 27,000 privately owned homes remain unoccupied.

Within the target, the Scottish Government also aimed to achieve 20,000 social rented homes as well as 5,000 council homes.

Both of these have been exceeded under the £1.7billion plan.

Speaking ahead of a housing debate in the Scottish Parliament, Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil said:

“I am delighted that we have now met our commitment to deliver 30,000 affordable homes ahead of our target date of March 2016.
“We believe in a Fairer Scotland for all and good quality affordable housing is central to making that a reality.

“We have worked hard with the housing sector to deliver these homes as well as develop innovative funding initiatives, such as government guarantees, loans, grant recycling and new sources of private funding, to help both buyers and developers”.

However, this announcement has been criticised by housing charity Shelter Scotland.

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, told EN4 News:

“It is welcome news that progress is being made by the Scottish Government in delivering new homes to meet the shortage of affordable housing in Scotland. However, this progress is nowhere near meeting the level of demand.

“With today’s figures showing there are still 150,000 households on council waiting lists across Scotland, it is clear that demand remains high and much more needs to be done.”

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