The head of the agency condemns a political party for “punishment…

One of the UK’s biggest hire groups has openly attacked the politics of a political party that will stand in the election next month.

DJ Alexander Ltd, part of the UK-wide Lomond Group, says Scottish National Party policies will introduce punitive restrictions on the lettings industry leading to economic contraction, less housing and the Edinburgh’s fall from its pre-eminent position among British cities.

The SNP’s manifesto for the Edinburgh election says it will require all owners of short-term rentals (including Airbnb) to apply for planning permission to operate with strict limitations on which properties gain approval; a rent control system to limit rent increases in the private rental sector; and charging people from outside the city a fee to enter the capital.

DJ Alexander says the town already has one of the highest paid, best educated and highest percentages of working people in the UK, generating the highest income, with one of the best and biggest markets tourism and hospitality in the UK.

David Alexander, Managing Director of DJ Alexander Scotland, comments: “Edinburgh is one of the most attractive cities in the world, attracting millions of visitors a year, generating billions of pounds of revenue each year and creating tens of thousands of jobs.

“The result is that demand for both short-term and long-term rentals is greater for visitors and for the workforce serving the tourism industry. This manifesto, however, seems to want to dismantle the real estate market that makes the success of the city without any consideration for the economic or social implications.

“These policies will in fact create greater upward financial pressure on City properties, both to buy and to rent, by seeking to impose a tax on those traveling to Edinburgh for work. The net result will make homes to buy and rent in the city more expensive, rather than cheaper. »

He says the proposed restrictions on Airbnb-style rentals won’t actually result in more homes for locals.

Instead, he says, it will “just put more homes on the market for sale. Without any incentive, the owners of these properties would not be forced to move them from short-term to long-term rental.

He continues: “The disincentive for short-term rentals to switch to long-term rentals would be driven by the rent controls on offer. Again, politicians are assuming that owners of private rental properties are entitled to have their incomes disrupted without having a say in this contrived interference in the market. Many property owners and investors may simply decide to move their investments to a more benign market in England by moving homes back to the open sales market.

“So we have less tourists due to less short-term accommodation constrained by planning restrictions and less private sector rentals due to rent controls, so the workforce has no nowhere to live.”

Alexander concludes, “These plans highlight a low-growth, business-blind, inward-looking strategy that magically expects the world to stay the same no matter what changes are imposed on the market. The assumption is that landlords will bear lower incomes, hotel businesses will bear lower incomes due to reduced tourists, and Edinburgh – the jewel in Scotland’s tourist crown – will be allowed to shrink under the banner of ideology rather than tourism. sense.

“Edinburgh’s highly paid, highly skilled, highly skilled and mobile workforce may then decide to move to another city to live and work where there are homes, hospitality venues and a style of life to which she aspires.

“Rather than listening to a vocal minority on housing issues, the council should engage with the business community, with the people who work and live in the city and who are generally happy to pay higher rents because employment benefits are among the highest in the UK. .

“The answer is to build more housing, expand the social housing sector, stimulate the housing construction sector and encourage greater investment in the private rental market.”

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