MORE than 20 residents at a backpackers’ hostel have barricaded themselves inside the building after being ordered to leave by the building’s owners.
Residents at the Art Roch in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket were given 24 hours to leave after the company which runs the hostel went into administration.
But the residents, foreign workers some of who have been living there for more than a year, say they have nowhere else to go.
They say fully-booked budget accommodation during the Festival season means they had no choice but to shut themselves in.
Police were called to the hostel yesterday (mon), which was opened by former treasurer of the Scottish Conservatives Malcolm Scott.
The hostel also caters for backpackers, saying on a website “if you are looking for a fun time this is party central.”
Quentin Rosettenstein, a chef from South Africa who stays at the hostel long-term, said:” The police did try to get in at first but when we explained to them what was happening they said we weren’t going to break the door down as we are behaving peacefully.
“We were told yesterday that we needed to be out of here by 11 o’clock this morning. There were notes posted on the doors saying the place was closing and we had to vacate.
“We’ve been served with no official paperwork.”
He added: “This is our home, some of us have lived here for years and we all pay our rent.
“We’re all foreigners, there’s people here from South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, so it’s not like we have any family here.
“How could we fine some-where else to stay at this short notice, two weeks before the Festival?”
Leah Silverlock, assistant manager at the Art Roch, said: “I was in shock, I still am.
“It was awful. People were asking me all sorts of questions I had no answers to and I had to tell these paying guests that they had to leave.
“The hot water hasn’t been working properly for seven months and neither has the electricity.
“A year ago bed bugs started appearing in the rooms. No-one will answer any of my questions or deal with complaints or repairs.
“Malcolm Scott has said that it’s nothing to do with him anymore, that we have to deal with KPMG.”
Prestonpans Trading Ltd, which owned the building, has Mr Scott listed as a director.
It was put into administration earlier this year, and administrators KPMG said: “Prestonpans (Trading) Limited owns a property at West Port in the Grassmarket which is leased to Lothian Hostels Limited, which trades from the property as the Art Roch hostel.
“We understand that Lothian Hostels Limited has taken the decision to cease to trade from the property and is taking steps to close the Art Roch Hostel.”