DEMONSTRATORS have managed to force the shutdown of a property investment workshop in Edinburgh in a protest against what they called “parasitic housing practices”.

Scotland’s tenants’ union Living Rent mounted the demonstration at the Making Money from Property event on Thursday evening, one of a series being held across the country by the BBC’s Martin Roberts, of Homes Under the Hammer fame.

The taster workshop promised to teach landlords how to “maximise their profits”, “make money while they sleep”, and “live the life they deserved”, but protesters said this meant driving up rents and forcing tenants into poverty.

READ MORE: Independence supporters more likely to back curbs on private landlords

Around 50 of them gathered outside, chanting and handing out flyers to passers-by, while a number made their way inside to challenge the organisers over the consequences of this approach to housing.

Half an hour later, the organisers called off the event and attendees were ushered out.

Living Rent said events like this underlined the need for the Scottish Government to introduce rent controls, which they said were necessary to stop tenants being forced into poverty by “sky-high rents”.

Eve Rogers, one of those protesters inside, said: “The presenters point-blank refused to face up to questions about how their parasitic, speculative pursuit of profit is directly linked to the housing crisis.

The National: Living Rent held a protest against Airbnb earlier this yearLiving Rent held a protest against Airbnb earlier this year

“These people want to make fortunes while they sleep, but they can’t pretend that there are no ethical questions behind what they’re doing. Nor can they expect tenants to simply sit back and let it happen while our lives are made a misery.

“This approach – treating a house as some kind of investment, rather than as a home for people to live in – is the root cause of so much homelessness, poverty, and shocking living conditions.

“But housing is a fundamental right, and that’s why we’re demanding the Government introduce rent controls across the country.”

READ MORE: Airbnb makes up a quarter of listings in Edinburgh and Skye

Living Rent member Claire Thomson, said: “The organisers of this event boasted about ‘maximising your profits’, ‘making money while you sleep’, and helping landlords ‘live the life they deserve’.

“But tenants know all too well what this means. It means poverty, sky-high rents, slum flats and gentrification.

“The fortunes these people promise don’t come out of nowhere, they come from tenants who are already desperately struggling to make ends meet. It has to stop.”

The non-partisan union said that between 2010 and 2019, the Lothians saw the average price rent for a two-bedroom property climb from £665 per month to £972, an “eye-watering” 46.3% cumulative increase over nine years.

Living Rent said it tries to unite and represent all tenants in Scotland from the private or social sector.

One of the protest organisers, Gordon Maloney, added: “This protest was about this specific event, but it was also about sending a message to the Government.

READ MORE: Living Rent calls on Government to end 'parasitic approach to housing'

“Year-on-year, tenants across the country are being driven into poverty by out-of-control rents, and so far nothing the Government has done to stop this has worked.

“We urgently need proper, strong rent controls, or the situation is only going to get worse and the damage done will be irreversible.

“This action showed that tenants aren’t going to just sit back and allow rents to continue going through the roof if the Government doesn’t act.”

The Making Money from Property workshop organisers have been approached for comment.