Edinburgh tenants celebrate victory against sell-offs and evictions 


Deal sealed for housing association to control flats and maintain tenancies

RESIDENTS of Lorne Street flats in Edinburgh have won their campaign to protect their community from forced sells off and evictions.

The residents association organised a year-and-a-half long effort to prevent an unpopular sell off by owners ‘The Miss Agnes Hunter Trust’, that would have reduced tenancy rights and risked residents’ losing security of tenure. 

Housing association Places for People Scotland will take over the running of the flats – a deal that has been welcomed by local campaigners and the politicians that supported the campaign. 

Commenting on the victory, secretary of Lorne Community Association, Melanie Weigang said: “We are absolutely thrilled about the good news received today from the Agnes Hunter Trust and Places for People Scotland. After 18 months of uncertainty, the future of our homes and our community has been secured.
“We would like to thank all our fantastic supporters for standing by us and in particular our MSP Ben Macpherson for his tireless efforts and support.”

The community united to support each other, creating widespread publicity for their cause, and considering various option to ensure housing rights were maintained. 

At one point the group considered a community co-operative to run the flats, but eventually, a housing association was found to take over property management – one which campaigners say has a good record. 

November 2015: 200 Leith residents launch bid for housing co-operative to save their community

MSP for Edinburgh Northern and Leith MSP Ben Macpherson added: “It is fantastic and a relief that this agreement has been achieved for the residents of Lorne Street, who have campaigned so hard over the last year. They will now be able to, rightfully, continue living in their homes with the security of knowing that they will not be evicted.
“The Lorne Community Association (LCA) have worked tirelessly to resist the proposed evictions in Lorne Street. It was my pleasure to celebrate and highlight their efforts by selecting Melanie Weigang, secretary of LCA, as my local hero a few months ago.
“The achievement of this agreement is down to the residents who have campaigned long and hard to have their voices heard, keep their homes and keep the Lorne Street community together. Praise must also be given to many of the other elected representatives who have helped the residents during their campaign – Deidre Brock MP, many local councillors, Kevin Stewart MSP (Minister for Local Government and Housing) and former MSP for the area, Malcolm Chisholm.”

The local victory follows national progress to strengthen the Private Housing (Tenancies) Act with the potential for local rent controls. 

Picture courtesy of The Lorne Community Association

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