Edinburgh calls for licensing regime in short term lets consultation response

The City of Edinburgh Council has published its response to the Scottish Government consultation on the regulation of short-term lets in Scotland.

The response sets out the Council’s case for a licensing regime to be introduced for properties being rented out for more than 28 days in a calendar year.

Last year, the Council created a working group to look at the issues short term lets are creating in Edinburgh and the Council has been working with the Scottish Government to set out its preference for a licensing regime.

Councillor Kate Campbell, Housing and Economy Convener, said: “The impact of short-term lets on the city is well documented. From the hollowing out of communities, anti-social behaviour, rising rents and increased pressure on housing supply making homes in Edinburgh unaffordable for too many people. 

“Our response to the consultation demonstrates these challenges. We’ve used case studies of some of the most difficult situations that we’ve dealt with, and explained how we’ve used existing powers alongside highlighting their limitations – most significantly that they are slow and resource intensive. And we’ve set out why we believe a licensing regime would be a game-changer.

"We are absolutely clear that we need a licensing regime because it would mean that we can set local policies that address the particular challenges we face in Edinburgh, and react quickly when rules are breached. So it’s very positive that the Scottish Government are consulting on proposals for a licensing regime.

“The consultation closes on Monday. It’s incredibly important that everyone who understands or has experienced the negative impacts of short-term lets takes part. This is our chance to shape a policy, and the legislation that will come from it, that will have enormous significance for residents, homes and communities in Edinburgh for generations to come.”

Download the Council's full response to the Scottish Government's consultation.

Further information

Licensing would mean the same rules and regulations would apply to short-term lets that currently apply to other types of visitor accommodation, making it safer for residents as well as for people visiting our city.

Key facts

Recent analysis (using Airbnb data) published in April 2019 by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) has shown that there were over 12,000 registered Airbnb properties in Edinburgh in 2018.

Airbnb reports that 21% of the 9,000 properties (1,890) registered in 2017, operated in excess of 90 days, which would indicate they are no longer being used on a residential basis.

The loss of traditional private rented sector properties is more prevalent in the city centre and in the north of the city, with the loss of stock running at up to 30% in some northern parts of Edinburgh.

Complaints to the City of Edinburgh Council about short term lets:

  • Impact on available housing supply within the city (availability, affordability etc)
  • Erosion of sense of community in areas with dense concentrations of short term lets
  • Short term letting is generally not suitable for tenement properties 
  • Properties which are used as short term lets may not reach the same safety standards as other types of visitor accommodation
  • Noise and antisocial behaviour created by guests using short term lets
  • Short term lets which operate on a commercial basis may not be paying rates or other council charges required

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