ETF Calls for Rent Affordability

Edinburgh Tenants Federation today (22 Feb 2018) called for increased dialogue about poor housing standards, rent affordability and the right to an adequate standard of living for Council tenants as the City of Edinburgh Council passed a 2% rent hike for its tenants.

Betty Stevenson, Convenor of ETF and Sharon Robertson, gave a powerful deputation to elected members, circulating pictures of poor housing conditions from North Edinburgh to highlight that tenants are paying the highest Local Authority rents in Scotland, for conditions that fall far below what tenants expect to receive.

Speaking after the vote, Convenor of ETF Betty Stevenson said, “I am disappointed that the Council has spoken about providing new kitchens and bathrooms and heating for tenants through rent increases, whilst tenants are really struggling to pay for rent and to heat their homes. Incomes are not increasing and poverty in Edinburgh is growing. Some tenants are living in housing which is in a state of disrepair, particularly in common stairs. People are embarrassed to bring their relatives and friends into poor housing conditions and will now have pay even more for work that should have been completed with the Scottish Housing Quality Standard by 2015. The photos I showed at the deputation today to Full Council should be a wakeup call for councillors and I am very pleased that so many have taken me up on my offer to take them round homes in Edinburgh for a reality check.”

Sharon Robertson, who presented the deputation on behalf of herself, Christine Hudson and Jan Mawdsley, individual tenants on the Tenants Panel and active members of the Federation, spoke passionately about poverty among Council tenants. She said that the right to an adequate standard of living, includes the right to affordable housing and highlighted that Council rent hikes in the past 10 years have hit tenants by more than 30%, and that the increased proportion of income being spent on rent, means that tenants have to choose between paying rent, proving school clothes for their children, heating or eating.

You can watch the deputation by ETF representatives here (from 5:00 to 27:30), read Sharon’s deputation Deputation of HRA Finance 2018 and see the full gallery of pictures presented to elected members here.

Access to the Council papers on the Housing Revenue Account can be accessed here.

Find out more about the right to an adequate standard of living including the right to adequate standard of housing here.